By Martin Walker
A purpose-built “home” for firefighters in Newton Aycliffe is starting to take shape.
The £600,000 living quarters, adjacent to the main station on Central Avenue, is part of plans to reduce the number of firefighters working in the town and is expected to be completed this summer.
The changes will mean the number of staff in Aycliffe will be reduced by 10, from 24 to 14, with the surplus firefighters being redeployed to other areas.
But senior officials claim a new shift pattern will mean the same number of staff will be on duty at all times, without affecting the brigade’s service in the town and surrounding areas, because firefighters will spend 12 hours on call in the living quarters.
The fire service claim it will save £250,000 of tax-payers’ money every year, and that nobody will lose their jobs in the short-term.
The service’s workforce nationally will gradually decrease through “natural wastage”, such as retirements.