Major Halifax plan revealed for new £2.5m fire station

Halifax fire station could be getting a 2.5m upgrade
Halifax fire station could be getting a 2.5m upgrade

A FIREFIGHTERS union has welcomed news that Halifax will be getting a new £2.5 million fire station, but questioned a £13 million proposal to rebuild the fire service’s Birkenshaw headquarters.

A recent financial report by West Yorkshire Fire Authority revealed a number of major projects, funded by capital reserves, that the service is looking to carry out in the coming years.

These include a £2.2 million new-build fire station in Keighley in the 2020/21 financial year, followed by a £2.5m new-build fire station in Halifax in 2021/22, and a £3m new-build fire station in Huddersfield in 2022/23.

The financial plan also includes £13 million that will be set aside for a “FSHQ (Fire Service Headquarters) new-build.” It gives no further details of this project, although it is not scheduled to happen in the next four years.

The fire service said it was looking at “options to redevelop all or some of the building” – based on a large site off Bradford Road, Birkenshaw.

Dave Williams, Yorkshire and Humber Regional Secretary for the Fire Brigades Union, does not believe the service needs to be spending £13 million on its headquarters at a time when many other services are being cut.

He said: “I don’t think they should be moving this money out of reserves when we could be using it to keep firefighters on pumps and keep fire stations open.

“I think we should be working on keeping retained firefighters in places like Silsden, Otley and Ilkley rather than spending it this way.

“I don’t mind money being invested in areas that need investment. Keighley really needs £2.2 million spending on it. It is run down. The same with Halifax and Huddersfield.”

He said £550,000 was already set aside to spend on the Birkenshaw site in the coming year: “Even that is generous as far as I can see. Birkenshaw has some of the better training facilities for firefighters in the area already. £13 million would buy a lot of bricks and mortar.

“I can think of at least 13 better ways to spend £13 million that would make West Yorkshrie safer than this plan.”

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said: “West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service is currently undertaking a feasibility study into options to redevelop all or some of our Headquarters buildings at our site in Birkenshaw.

“Currently, the buildings on the site are ageing and require excessive maintenance.

“We are looking at how we can provide a suitable and sustainable headquarters site for current and future employees of WYFRS.

“In light of this, it makes sense to consider the possibility of funding this in a number of years’ time.

“At this early stage all we are doing is considering how we might ensure that the central support and training facilities at Birkenshaw are fit to take West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue forward into the future.

“No decision has been taken as to how we may best achieve that as yet.”