FIRE service chiefs will hold further talks with campaigners who have been fighting to try and save Haworth Retained Fire Station.

But despite agreeing to the talks early in the New Year, the service has confirmed that the station will still close on December 31.

A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said its representatives would meet with the steering group which has tried to salvage some form of community safety provision from the closure.

Speaking in the wake of three protest rallies in Haworth to try and save the station, he said the meeting would take place some time during the first week of the New Year.

Steve Beckley, deputy chief fire officer, said: “We've worked with representatives of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council for over two years to try and identify alternative uses for the fire station.

"It's encouraging that other people from the local community now appear to be willing to support the parish council to develop some firm proposals."

Before news of the New Year meeting was released, a spokesman for the parish council had admitted it would not be able to set up a community safety service at the fire station before December 31.

"We gave it our best shot, but such are the complexities of the situation and the shortage of funds it didn't work out within the two years granted to us by the fire authority," he said.

However, councillor John Huxley, chairman of the parish council and the steering group, said: "I still believe saving the fire station and having some kind of volunteer fire group one day is do-able.

"But the parish and town councils involved in the project have to be careful that they are not taking on a building they cannot sustain.

"The most important thing now is to keep the building functioning after it ceases to be an operational fire station."

Following the first march against the fire station closure on December 13, organised by Haworth resident Steve Thorpe, two more protests were held in the village. These included a rally outside the station last Wednesday and a march last Saturday.

Mr Thorpe said he was encouraged by the fire service's agreement to sit down for more talks.

"The fire service bosses have had conversations with us where they told us their side of things and we voiced our views," he said.

"We told them it was nothing personal, but that this is something we feel strongly about."

People interested in attending the talks can call 079696 58743 or e-mail to get in touch with Mr Thorpe.