Fire brigade plans for homes at old HQ in Durham set for green light

The Advertiser Series: Housing plan for old headquarters Housing plan for old headquarters

PLANS to demolish former fire brigade headquarters and build homes on the site are being recommended for approval.

Durham County Council’s county planning committee will consider whether to grant County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Brigade outline planning permission for its recently-closed Durham City base when it meets on Tuesday, January 7.

If councillors agree to the officers' recommendation, the service, or whoever develops the site, will then have to come back to get approval for detailed plans.

The two-hectare site in Finchale Road, Framwellgate Moor, has been the brigade’s HQ since the 1950s but the brigade moved to a new home at Belmont as the Framwellgate Moor site was considered past its shelf life.

The brigade is also building a new fire station for the city at Sniperley Farm and a training facility at Bowburn.

The HQ site, which is surrounded by housing, could hold up to 54 homes, councillors will be told.

Peter Herbert Senior planner says in a report to the committee that the principle of housing on the site is supported by existing and emerging local planning policies and that there have been no objections.

He also says that the brigade should be allowed to provide ten per cent affordable housing – lower than the usual percentage – because money from the sale will go back to the county’s fire services.

“The site is in a highly sustainable location close to local community facilities and services, and its development offers an opportunity to enhance the character and appearance of the area through careful housing design and layout.

“The vehicular access is considered to be suitable for the level of traffic anticipated to be associated with such housing, and the replacement of the Fire and Rescue Headquarters by a more benign land use is judged to be positive.

“The provision of a reduced level of affordable housing has been justified by a robust viability statement, and it is accepted that the wider community benefits which will result from the capital receipt from the land sale being used to help fund improve fire and rescue facilities within County Durham outweighs the disbenefits of a reduced affordable housing provision.”


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