Bosses shelve plans to close fire stations after protests

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FIRE chiefs in West Yorkshire look set to drop plans to close some stations in a cost-cutting drive – but others are not expected to escape the axe.

One of the most controversial proposals was to close Haworth station which attracted fierce criticism from residents and the parish council.

Following a 12-week consultation process, the fire service is planning to suspend the Haworth closure for up to two years to allow a feasibility study to be completed into possible alternatives.

Haworth parish councillors had been so worried about the closure threat they met fire chiefs to suggest taking ownership of the fire station themselves and providing basic fire cover.

Last night parish council chairman John Huxley said the latest proposals were “very encouraging” but he wanted to read the detail before he commented further.

But there was bad news for residents in Colne Valley, Huddersfield, who have been fighting to keep open Marsden fire station. The fire service’s proposals remain the same following consultation.

In Leeds, the merger of Hunslet and Morley looks set to be dropped. Both will remain open and in their current locations although there will be cost-cutting in the way the stations are crewed.

The plan to merge Rothwell and Garforth also looks likely to be dropped. The post-consultation proposal is to retain both stations in their current locations but with changes to the shift duty system.

In Bradford, there are still plans to merge Shipley and Idle fire stations. The new station will be at a site in the vicinity of the Leeds Road/Cragg Road/Briggate area.

A spokeswoman for the fire service said the consultation had attracted 12,037 formal representations.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling will ask the fire authority meeting on December 21 to consider the revisions to the previous proposals.

Mr Pilling said the brigade had to find between £8m and £12m of cuts over the next two years.

“I believe that these proposals represent changes that will have the least impact on emergency cover for the county, yet contribute significantly to addressing the financial gap the Authority must address.”