MP fears for city's heritage under fire service revamp

ONE of York's MPs fears that the city's world famous historic buildings could be put at risk under a multi-million pound overhaul of fire cover.

Senior officials from the North Yorkshire brigade are currently considering a massive revamp of the fire service in York which could see a new station built to replace the existing base in Clifford Street.

York Central MP Hugh Bayley has met with North Yorkshire's Chief Fire Officer, Nigel Hutchinson, to discuss the proposals over fears that cover could be reduced.

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The plans would see one of the two appliances currently based at Clifford Street moved to Huntington station, along with the aerial ladder platform.

Mr Bayley raised concerns that historic buildings after being contacted by officials from the Fire Brigades Union and the York Civic Trust.

He said: "We need to make sure that we have adequate fire cover in the city, and I have raised the concerns of both the FBU and the civic trust with Mr Hutchinson.

"The proposals involve a major restructuring of the fire cover in the city, and while the brigade is confident that it will actually improve the service, I have asked for reassurances that this will be the case.

"I do have concerns myself, and I have sought reassurances from Mr Hutchinson that they are addressed."

The brigade already has 4.5m plans approved to rebuild the existing fire station at Clifford Street, which has been deemed to be outdated.

But senior officers now hope to agree a deal for a site in Kent Street, near the Barbican theatre, to build a new 3.2m station there.

Mr Hutchinson has maintained that response rates to incidents in under five minutes will actually improve by more than six per cent under the overhaul of the city's cover.

The Kent Street site is seen as ideally located to provide fire and rescue services to historic buildings in the city centre as well as to the south-east of York, which has seen major developments in recent years, such as the 500m expansion of York University's campus.

A public consultation which is currently being staged about the Kent Street proposals will come to an end next month.