New Rastrick fire station on agenda

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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.