FIRE stations in Richmond and Northallerton have been described as not fit for purpose by an interim chief fire officer, due to crumbling and dilapidated buildings.

In his first 100 days report for Poolce and Fire Commissioner Julia Mulligan, Andrew Brodie, Interim Chief Fire Officer at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, also said the service suffers from chronic long-term under-investment.

He said: "Much of the estate is dilapidated, too many workplaces are uninspiring. Technological advancements in equipment, fleet and ICT have too often not been made. Introducing Tactical Response Vehicles has damaged trust, though it’s being rebuilt through engagement with firefighters and their representative bodies.

"We are an effective fire and rescue service with people who are committed to delivering good internal and external services. There are no obvious areas of concern about safety, service delivery or culture that need immediate action.

He added: "Parts of our workforce aren’t diverse enough, most starkly the low numbers of firefighters who are women and the consequent dearth of women in senior firefighter roles. Colleagues recognise the desire to diversify the workforce but misunderstand why it’s necessary, often citing that ‘we just need the best person for the job’.

However he said the service's workplaces are welcoming and free from bullying and harassment.

He said: "We feel valued and look forward to coming to work, it’s enjoyable and fun, and colleagues support each other when needed."

He added: "Too much of our estate is dilapidated. Buildings are crumbling, uncomfortable and uninspiring. They are not welcoming for public use and facilities are inappropriate for a diverse workforce or visitors. Stations such as Northallerton and Richmond are not fit for purpose or appropriate to share with other organisations.

"Sharing a headquarters with the police is an excellent move. It will bring disruption and colleagues will take time to adjust to the new surroundings and working alongside police colleagues. However, it will save money and, even more importantly, provide a more suitable workplace for colleagues to share and collaborate between our organisations."

Commenting on the report, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “I thank Andrew for his excellent leadership in his first 100 days, which I know frontline firefighters have appreciated too.

“More importantly, his findings are insightful and certainly give me food for thought moving forward."

The full report is available here