Fire stations set to go in £18m revamp

DEWSBURY and Batley fire stations will close and be replaced by one station on the border of the two towns.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service bosses met on Friday to agree cuts to save £18m over four years.

Both stations will close over the next few years with a loss of 24 jobs. The fire service said job losses would be through retirements rather than redundancies.

The authority has agreed to replace 10 fire stations across the county to save up to £4m per year, but said that front-line services would not be affected.

During the meeting, at the authority’s headquarters in Birkenshaw, deputy chairman and Kirklees Council leader Coun Mehboob Khan said: “In Batley and Dewsbury there has been a level of anxiety and concern by our local members and we have had to respond to that. We have had to explain to our colleagues that this change can bring significant additional resources.”

For five years from 2004/05 to 2009/10, the number of call-outs in both towns reduced by 17 per cent, with a reduction in serious fires by 34 per cent. The authority cited a ‘considerable duplication’ of fire cover for the closures.

At the new proposed station, there would be two fire engines along with a back-up engine during busiest times.

Fire stations at Mirfield and Cleckheaton will not be affected.

Chairman of the fire authority Coun David Ridgway said: “The changes will strengthen Mirfield station. We will be opening a new fire station on the Dewsbury and Batley border, but the location has not been decided on yet. But it will give the same degree of cover for the area.”