A brand new, purpose built Fire Station in the heart of the Darlington has been officially opened.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) and Northeast Ambulance Service (NEAS) are co-located at the station, which is situated on St. Cuthbert’s Way in the town.

Councillor John Shuttleworth, Chair of the County Durham and Darlington Combined Fire Authority, officially opened the new station, in front of invited guests, which included The Mayor of Darlington, Anne-Marie Curry, CDDFRS Chief Fire Officer Stuart Errington and NEAS Chief Operating Officer Stephen Seagsby.

Other distinguished guests included the Leader of Darlington Borough Council, Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Ian Williams the Chief Executive of Darlington Borough Council and other Darlington Ward Councillors and Fire Authority Members.

During the event guests were invited to tour the state-of-the-art facilities, which includes much-improved training facilities, accommodation and welfare facilities, ensuring an effective and efficient response from both the fire and ambulance services in the heart of Darlington town centre.

The decision to replace the existing station, was taken in early 2018 and in August 2018, a Darlington based architect, Corstorphine + Wright, Niven Architects were appointed.

John Hancock, CDDFRS Estates Manager commented: “The existing station which was built in 1972 and refurbished in 2009 but needed more permanent, extensive repairs which were ultimately very expensive and problematic. The building was not fit for purpose, so a decision was made in 2018 by our Combined Fire Authority to fund a demolition and a complete rebuild of the station.”  

Following extensive work with The Environment Agency to mitigate flood risk on the land, a start date for demolition of the existing station was agreed for 27th January 2020.

During the construction work, fire crews were relocated to former workshops and temporary accommodation on the site and NEAS relocated to Darlington Memorial Hospital. The station was fully operational in early 2021, with fire service staff moving in on Monday 22nd February 2021, then later in April 2021, NEAS moved their station into the station.

Councillor John Shuttleworth, Chair of County Durham and Darlington’s Combined Fire Authority said: “Today’s event marks the official opening of the station which has been fully operational for the last year. Our vision for this new community fire and ambulance station was one of flexibility and collaboration, so the service and its partner organisations can provide first-class facilities and services to support local people”.

CDDFRS Chief Fire Officer, Stuart Errington, commented: “I must thank all our crews who have managed to maintain a superb service despite being in temporary accommodation throughout the build, which lasted almost a year. We are extremely proud of their professionalism and ability to adapt; they really have proven that they are a credit to our Service.

“This new station, really is a jewel in our crown and has been a major investment for the Service resulting in state-of-the-art facilities which ultimately benefit the local community.”