Fire stations of the world: ‘State of the art’ fire station officially opened in Darlington, UK
A brand new, purpose built co-location station in the heart of the Darlington in County Durham in the UK was officially opened on 17 June 2022. County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) and North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) are co-located at the station, which is situated on St Cuthbert’s Way in the town. Corstorphine and Wright Architects said, “We also worked closely with fire fighters to design a building that truly met their needs. Drawing on their input and our extensive bluelight experience, we created spaces that are not just unique, modern and stylish but are also functional and instrumental in fostering wellbeing.”
Amenities include changing rooms, showers, kitchens, dining spaces and a laundry area to help with fire fighters’ day-to-day comings and goings. The design also features mental health-focused areas, such as dedicated quiet rooms and a breakout space, which has a light and airy feel with large windows overlooking the river.
“Importantly, we didn’t have to relocate fire fighters during construction. The North East Ambulance Service building had ancillary accommodation, which fire fighters were able to use. And we worked with the contractor to section off part of the site so work could continue as close to normal as possible, which was appreciated by the services. It was also encouraging for them to see their new workspace going up in real-time”, stated Corstorphine and Wright Architects.
“The new station is fully equipped with all the operational equipment, accommodation and welfare facilities deserving of a modern, efficient and innovative service. Particular attention has been paid to future-proofing the station, using latest building methods and technologies to achieve a long, durable and resilient life whilst reducing utilities consumption and running costs. Staff welfare and training has been a major consideration and the facilities provided are at the forefront of the service”, said John Hancock, estates manager at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.
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 Segasby.
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 a 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 and Wright, Niven Architects were appointed. Tolent completed the new £3,2m fire station for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.
Hancock 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 27 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 staff from both services moving in on Monday 22 February 2021.
Chief operating officer at North East Ambulance Service, Stephen Segasby said, “It’s wonderful to see our teams working together in this state of the art building. This is an important facility for the local community and a great place for blue light services to collaborate and develop together.”
Councillor John Shuttleworth, Chair of County Durham and Darlington’s Combined Fire Authority said, “This event marks the official opening of the station which has been fully operational for over a year. Our vision for this new community fire 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 an excellent Service despite being in temporary accommodation during the build, which lasted almost a year 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.”
Rick Halton, regional director for Tolent, who were appointed the main contractor of the build in January 2020 said, “Working with the CDDFRS team has been a pleasure and we’re delighted to be handing over this fantastic new facility that will benefit the whole community in Darlington. Our team on site has worked collaboratively with the crews to ensure they had access as and when it was needed on site, as well as managing the added challenge of COVID-19. Well done to all involved.”
Sources: County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS); North East Ambulance Service NHS, Tolent, Corstorphine and Wright Architects