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Greenbelt concerns over Durham fire station plan
DURHAM fire chiefs are facing a struggle over plans to build a new station on Greenbelt land outside the city.
The brigade has submitted a planning application to build a new fire station on land at Sniperley Farm, off the A691 on Durham’s northern outskirts.
Councillor Mark Wilkes, whose Framwellgate Moor ward includes the site, said he had concerns about landscaping issues, because the land lies within the Greenbelt and mature country hedging would be lost.
He said: “I know that the fire authority has listened to residents’ concerns.
“They committed to ensuring that local residents were consulted properly and have made amendments to plans already after suggestions from myself, officers and residents.
“They have also agreed to plant oak trees, hawthorn hedging and over two dozen other native plant species, all of which will be beneficial to wildlife.
“However, there are still more landscaping issues which need to be looked at and this application must be considered as an absolutely exceptional deviation from the principles of Greenbelt development.”
Durham’s current fire station, in Framwellgate Moor, is more than 50 years old and, officials say, very costly to maintain and no longer fit for purpose.
Previously, Durham Fire Authority chairman Gordon Tennant said the new station was “at the heart of delivering better services to our local communities” and he wanted a community fire station local people could be proud of and which would provide excellent service to communities in the years ahead.
A formal public consultation on the application will begin soon and it is likely to be considered by a planning committee in coming months.
For more information, visit the planning portal at durham.gov.uk, using the application reference CMA/4/99.
As of last September, the fire brigade was hoping to start building at Sniperley this spring and complete the project early next year.
Its 999 call handling service will move to the mothballed North-East Fire Control Centre building, on Belmont industrial estate.
Coun Wilkes said he hoped the Framwellgate Moor fire station site would be used for sustainable affordable and social housing.