PLANS to replace Haworth’s disused fire station with a Co-op store are set to be approved next Wednesday. (Feb 27)

The fire station at the junction of Bridgehouse Lane and Station Road was closed in 2014 as part of cost cutting measures by West Yorkshire Fire Service. The building has been vacant ever since.

Despite protest rallies and a campaign to save the facility the fire service said worse than expected Government funding cuts meant it did not have the money to help re-open the premises as a community-run safety hub.

Last year, plans to demolish the property and build a Co-op in its place were submitted, and a decision on these proposals is due to be made next week by Bradford Council’s Keighley and Shipley Area Planning Panel.

A report by planning officers has recommended members should approve the plans.

The report reveals that while 13 people have objected to the plans, 38 have written to the council in support.

Objectors claim the shop could create highway safety problems, lead to anti-social behaviour, and harm other businesses in the village.

Another objector says the Co-op should instead be looking to open a shop in Haworth’s Main Street.

Supporters say many residents have to travel out of town to do food shopping and the shop would make a good use of the site.

Council planning officers have concluded the site is suitable for such a business, and point out Main Street is now more tourism focused.

Their report to the planning panel says: “Whilst a Co-op store was historically located there, the historic Main Street is now largely aimed at the tourist market and offers little or no convenience stores.

“Mill Hey offers a small number of general stores but convenience shopping in Haworth is limited to an existing small supermarket in Mill Hey.

“Both areas are very constrained and the report concludes there are no vacant sites that would be suitable for a proposal of this scale and type.

“It is considered that a use of this type would add to the retail offering in the area and be a convenient facility for local residents.”

On the proposed building’s appearance, the report says: “While the building is modern it is now considered a balance has been struck between maintaining the company’s identity whilst respecting the surroundings.”

Haworth resident Steve Thorpe, who led a campaign to try and save Haworth Fire Station, said: “It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost the building and that it’s never going to be a fire station again.

“It is really sad for the village. I don’t hold a grudge against whoever has the building now, and it doesn’t matter what it’s going to be turned into.

“It’s just a shame that it’ll never again be used for its original purpose – a fire station to serve the community.”

The planning committee is due to meet in Keighley Town Hall at 10am next Wednesday.

*See the Keighley News website for updates on the committee’s decision.