KEIGHLEY’S fire station could be demolished and replaced with an entirely new station or be extensively renovated.

The news was confirmed publicly this week by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

But the organisation said a study would need to be carried out to decide the best way forward for the 54-year-old Bradford Road building.

And the county’s fire service is also meant to be discussing how to cut £2.4 million from its own budget in order to balance its books by spring 2020.

The fire service says its investment plans for Keighley will not affect its other bases at Silsden, Ilkley and Bingley, noting: “All these stations also have money allocated to them to ensure they are fit for purpose. There is no review of the nearby stations.”

The service’s spokesman said: “The [Keighley] station is due for major expenditure, which will lead to a feasibility study to see if it will be refurbished or whether a replacement new build will be constructed on the same site.”

Responding to the news, Keighley MP John Grogan said: “Keighley Fire Station was built in 1964 and has served the town and the surrounding area well.

“This welcome news of potential extra investment could set it up to serve the local community for the next half a century.”

Keighley Central Ward Councillor, and this year’s Bradford Lord Mayor Zafar Ali, said he was pleased to hear that whatever is decided, the station will remain in its current location.

“It’s in an ideal place in the centre of Keighley, and makes it easier for the fire crew to respond to unfortunate incidents in the town,” he added.

“Personally, I don’t see why it would need to be replaced, as when I visited two or three years ago it seemed like a good building.

“But of course it’s up to the fire service and would also depend on what funding they have. If their feasibility report finds that a completely new building is required in order for the fire station to adhere to modern standards, then that’s what we’d need.”

Cllr Michael Westerman, chairman of Keighley Town Council watch and transport committee, asked: “Would it really be worth constructing a replacement new building for a one-pump station?

“If they do end up knocking the fire station down, then they should also demolish the nearby, empty old Gas Board building, which has been disused for nearly 30 years. It’s an eyesore.

“If they get rid of that too they could develop one purpose-built property on the site to have all our blue light services in the same place. It would be the perfect location.”

Dave Williams, Yorkshire and Humber regional secretary for the Fire Brigade Union, said: “Of course we welcome any investment in the fire and rescue service in West Yorkshire.

“Apart from the new builds we haven’t seen any real investment for years in our existing stations in West Yorkshire and the state of repair of some of them is dreadful.

“So this is long overdue. And while the spending on the fire station is good news, we now need to also see investment in firefighters.” 

Bradford Council said it would not comment on the fire station plans at this stage.

The news about Keighley Fire Station comes in the same week that efforts to cut £2.4 million from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service budget will be discussed.

A plan to “flatten management structures” would help reduce costs while still “protecting the current levels of fire cover” according to a new report.

The changes include reducing the number of watch managers based at fire stations with one fire engine. It will be discussed by the West Yorkshire Fire Authority tomorrow. (Sept 21)

The report says: “To achieve a balanced budget by April 2020, the Authority must achieve savings of at least £2.4 million.

“Beyond 2020, the financial outlook remains uncertain. It is highly likely that WYFRS will receive further reductions in Government funding.”