WORK has started on Darlington’s new fire station this week, marking goodbye to a 50-year-old building.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s (CDDFRS) fire station, in Darlington town centre, will be rebuilt.

The station’s temporary accommodation and fire training house have been knocked down, with work on the main building starting soon.

John Hancock, CDDFRS estates manager said: “The existing station was built in 1972 and refurbished in 2009. However, the station needed more permanent, extensive repairs which were ultimately very expensive and problematic."

It will take six weeks to get rid of the asbestos in the main building, and another six weeks to demolish it. Fire crews are currently based in a building to the back of the site, once reserved for North East Ambulance Service, which has relocated to Darlington Memorial Building until the new building is complete.

Work was expected to begin in 2019, but delays with the planning application lengthened the process. Following extensive work with the Environment Agency to mitigate flood risk on the land, the rebuild can now go ahead.

Councillor Audrey Laing, vice chair of County Durham and Darlington’s Combined Fire Authority, said: “The Fire Authority looked at many options to bring the station up-to-date however it became apparent a brand-new facility was needed. We hope that once the new station is open, local residents will look positively on this state-of-the-art building in the heart of their town.”

David Hardcastle, principal architect at Corstorphine + Wright, who is involved in the project, said: “It was important to stay on this location, for the people of Darlington and the development of the town.

“We’re looking forward to getting started, and to be working with Tolent again. We’ve worked with them on a few projects so know the team quite well, there shouldn’t be any teething problems.”

Jeremy Marley, contractors manager of Tolent construction company, which was brought on board in April, said: “We are delighted to be starting on this building. The prestigious building will be a great uplift for Darlington. The town looking very smart.”

Both the ambulance and fire service hope to settle into the new facility before the end of this year.