The Birkenshaw AAOR is at the West Yorkshire Fire Brigade HQ just outside Leeds and although for a time it was used by their emergency planning unit, the lower floor is now used for storage and the upper floor houses their ‘Mobilising and Communications Centre.’ Only the back wall, one side wall and part of the front wall of the original AAOR building are visible.
The building has been extended sideways in brick and this extension houses their communications centre with some ancillary equipment in some of the original upper level rooms. The building has also been extended outwards at the front to form their reception area.
The AAOR is of the semi-sunken variety, one floor above ground and one floor below. The whole of the upper floor has been redesigned incorporating it into the new extensions. The main staircase down has gone and there is no trace of its position at the upper level; at the lower level it has been boarded up. Access to the lower floor is by the two side stairways and wooden steps from the balcony. The original operations room with its balcony and well is intact with the curved Perspex windows still in place along two sides of the balcony. On the lower floor the room is used for storage and the balcony appears unused.
On the lower floor of the building, the structure is more recognisable as an AAOR with the ring corridor, still painted cream and all the rooms intact although now stripped of all original fittings. The standby generator and the ventilation plant have gone and these two rooms and most others are used for storage.
One room is used by the Emergency Planning Unit and has an SX2000 ECN unit standing on an old engine bed. (It’s unclear what originally stood here). Most of the other rooms are stacked with redundant equipment and new stores. Originally the lower floor was used as the Emergency Planning Centre, and numerous maps are still stacked in one of the corridors. Apart from the ECN, which is still operational, Emergency Planning have moved into one of many houses scattered around the site.
There is a modern communications mast on the roof together with new ventilation plant. The original second entrance at the rear of the building now houses a new standby generator. A much older communications mast, perhaps original, stands on the grass in front of the building. Various windows have been cut into the upper level walls together with a new emergency exit in the side.