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Chief praises bid to run fire station
10:00am Saturday 5th January 2013 in Keighley
A fire chief has described an idea to hand over the running of Haworth fire station to its parish council as “potentially very exciting”.
Closure-threatened Haworth fire station was given a two-year stay of execution at a cost-cutting meeting of the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority last month.
It was delayed so the fire service can fully investigate an idea by Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, which has offered to take over the station and run a ‘rapid response’ service from there.
The station costs more than £200,000 a year to run and has 12 retained firefighters.
The parish council’s idea could see volunteers from the community helping to run the station and it could even be used as a base for other emergency services too.
West Yorkshire Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Steve Beckley, said: “I think it’s potentially a very exciting project.”
He said while it was early days, and he did not want to discuss the specifics of how it would be run, the police and ambulance service had expressed an interest in being involved.
Councillor John Huxley, the parish council chairman, welcomed Mr Beckley’s support but said the village had to approve the idea at a public meeting, and find people to lead the project, before it went any further.
He said: “There’s quite a number of people who have expressed an interest in it but we don’t want to take anything for granted.
“This thing has to be done properly. It will certainly cost a sum of money and we want the villagers to understand that.”
The Fire Brigades’ Union has expressed alarm at the idea.
West Yorkshire brigade secretary Dave Williams said while he appreciated the Haworth community was desperate to save its fire station, the idea could create a two-tier system.
Coun Huxley said he would like Mr Williams to get in touch with his concerns and would be keen to hear from the union at the public meeting, which is on Wednesday, at 7.30pm, at West Lane Baptist Church, Haworth.
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