Bishop Auckland may be getting a new fire station.

The town is in line for one of two community fire stations being built with private sector money under a regional plan to improve fire and rescue facilities.

Details of the £41.6m regional strategy must be submitted by the end of this month. They include a second community station at Spennymoor and a life skills centre at an unspecified site.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service is asking Wear Valley District Council for permission to build Bishop Auckland's new station in Fylands Drive, Tindale Crescent.

It is also seeking outline permission for residential development on the site of the present station in Watling Road.

The new station would contain training facilities for firefighters and multi-media rooms for community safety advice sessions of members of the public, schools and businesses.

No changes to fire services are planned.

Peter Matthews, station manager at Bishop Auckland, said: "As part of a Tyne and Wear Private Finance Initiative we are looking for two new stations, one in Spennymoor and one in Bishop Auckland.

"The new site at Bishop will aim to encourage greater involvement from the community."

Mr Matthews said: "The community fire station will house as many engines as this one, maybe more.

"It will also have facilities we can use to educate people and we will be able to put on events to get people involved."

Many of the events held will target 13 to 16 year-olds who have difficulties at school and will teach them about the fire service and the discipline that is taught as part of the service.

Public meetings on initial proposals were held in Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor at the end of last year.

Unions have supported moves to strengthen links with the public and raise the profile of fire prevention, but were concerned about cover at Spennymoor because a crew from Durham would be brought in to maintain a 24-hour service.