A campaign to transform Haworth’s retained fire station into a community-run Worth Valley safety hub is a step closer to achieving its objective.
The building is due to close as a retained fire station at the end of this year.
But West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Auth-ority’s Community Safety Committee has agreed a package to enable councillors to reach the next stage in their attempt to keep the premises open as an emergency service centre instead.
Councillor John Huxley, chairman of Worth Valley Joint Transport and Emergency Services Committee, which includes representatives from Haworth, Oxenhope and Keighley councils, said councillors now have a plan in front of them that they will discuss in detail.
He said: “It’s been a long process because there was no similar model in the country we could study.
“It’s a ground-breaking concept, and if we succeed in making it work, it could provide the basis for other similar community-run schemes for rural communities.
“After all the discussions, we’ve reached a position where we can recommend to our respective councils a concept we believe will give us the basis to ultimately keep fire-fighting in the Worth Valley and, at the same time, create a service centre that will keep our communities safe.”
The plan to keep the property open in its new guise was tabled for discussion at Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council’s meeting on Tuesday.
It will also be debated by Keighley Town Council and Oxenhope Parish Council.
If a community takeover of the fire station becomes a reality, this will see the creation of a volunteer-run service that would be fully trained in fire prevention and other community safety skills.
Ultimately, it is hoped the centre could gradually increase its skill-base to a point where a volunteer fire-fighting unit, complementary to the full-time firefighters at Keighley Fire Station, could be established.
Campaigners would also like to see the building act as a hub for not only fire and rescue, but as a base for neighbourhood policing and for the Calderdale Hill Rescue Service.
Deputy chief fire officer Steve Beckley said: “We already use volunteers to support our community safety activity in some areas, and this project offers an exciting opportunity to formalise a true partnership, where local people contribute to keeping their community safe by preventing fires and other incidents, such as road traffic collisions.”