Backing for new fire station site

A FIRE station commander has given his backing to close stations in Brighouse and Elland and build a new one in Rastrick.

Andy Crowther, who is station commander for both Brighouse and Elland, said he would be supporting the plans from a professional and a personal point of view.

And it seems feedback from a public consultation which ended last Friday is also in favour of the idea with only three people objecting.

The plan has been put forward by the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority and includes losing 102 firefighters, closing ten stations and building five new ones.

Station commander Crowther told residents at Rastrick ward forum that the service was coming under severe financial constraints to the point that they cannot fund the service at the size it is now.

They are therefore looking at reducing their work force by around 25 per cent across the board in the next four years and the only ways the costs and savings can be made is to reduce the wage bill.

The feedback from the public consultation is being discussed by members of the fire authority tomorrow and if accepted then the new station will be built in the next two to five years.

“This all depends on how quickly we can acquire the land and get planning permission in order to the start work,” said Station Commander Crowther.

He confirmed that the area being considered by the fire service for the new station was around the Sun Inn.

“I have to be honest that the areas on the outskirts of the area such as Hipperholme and Wyke will have a longer response time and that is the reality. At the moment we are doing some prevention work in that area, offering free fore service advice and smoke detectors so we can get the risk in the area as low as we can. But to be honest they are quite low risk areas anyway.”

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.

During the debate residents asked what would happen if the engine at Rastrick was dealing with a fire in another area? Station Commander Crowther said the call would go to the nearest station, Huddersfield or Halifax, which is what happened now.

He estimated that the cost of the new station would be around £1 million.