New Rastrick fire station on agenda

COUNCILLORS are set to debate plans to close fire stations in Brighouse and Elland.

The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority earlier this year announced a rationalisation programme which includes losing 102 firefighters, closing 10 stations and replacing those with five new ones.

A new station at Rastrick would be built to replace the two lost in Calderdale.

Elland is classed as low-risk and Brighouse as very low-risk in respect of fire-related emergencies.

But, both towns proximity to the M62 means crews respond to a higher than average number of road accidents.

Fire chiefs say a new Rastrick station would improve arrival times into the higher risk areas of Huddersfield and a quicker response to road traffic accidents on the M62.

And, the reduction from two to one continually-staffed fire engine would offer better value for money with the loss of as many as 24 positions.

The new Rastrick station would continue to provide a specialist water rescue capability.

A report to Monday’s cabinet meeting says the WYFRA is confident there would be no adverse operational effect from the proposals - which would be implemented between 2013 and 2017 - however, councillors and local communities may take a diferent view.

Councillor Bryan Smith (Lab, Ovenden) represents Calderdale on the fire authority and supports the plans.

“Brighouse fire station needs a great deal of refurbishment and the one in Elland needs a lot of modernisation also so I think these plans are a good idea,” he said.

“We believe money would be better spent on a new station.”

Councillor Howard Blagborough (Con, Brighouse) said most people seemed to be in favour.

“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.”

The authority is still considering sites for an optimum location.