COUNCILLORS have given their backing to close stations in Brighouse and Elland and build a new fire station in Rastrick.
And Calder Valley’s MP Craig Whittaker has also said it will be a great move for the area.
At Monday night’s Cabinet meeting councillors were told that building a new fire station in the Rastrick area was part of a bigger plan by the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority which includes losing 102 firefighters, closing ten stations and building five new ones.
Brighouse station is in need of a “great deal of refurbishment” and Elland is in need of a “lot of modernisation” according to Councillor Bryan Smith (Lab, Ovenden) who represents Calderdale on the fire authority.
Both stations are classed as low-risk in respect of fire-related emergencies. And the two towns proximity to the M62 means crews respond to a higher than average number of road accidents.
According to chief fire officer Simon Pilling the potential site for the new fire station would be the Clough Lane/New Hey Road area.
Brighouse councillor Howard Blagbrough (Con) said most people seemed to be in favour of it. “I have not had any negative feedback,” he said.
“The only thing I am unsure of is where the new fire station would be located in Rastrick.”
Councillor Ann McAllister (Con, Rastrick) told Cabinet: “The proposal had been well received by the community.”
And Calder Valley’s MP Craig Whittaker has said that this should be seen as hugely positive that when times are really tight with money that fire chiefs have decided they will build a brand new fire station that could only benefit the area.
West Yorkshire fire crews have warned of major public safety concerns and longer attendance times to 999 incidents with fewer stations, crews and appliances spread much more thinly.
At the moment 48 full-time firefighters serve the two stations. But when the two are combined 24 of the posts will be removed by planned retirements.
Yorkshire FBU regional secretary Pete Smith said: “These cuts are the worst we have ever seen and come on the back of already serious cuts to the service in recent years.
“Make no mistake they are a threat to the safety of the public and firefighters – this is a bonfire of the fire service.”
He said there were times when the fire service has been seriously stretched even with the current resources.
“These cuts risk tipping us over the edge and that will have a very serious impact on the public.”