Concern at sites earmarked for new Leeds fire stations

CALL-OUT CONCERNS: Fire engine response times in certain areas will be hit, but which areas are affected is still not being made public.
CALL-OUT CONCERNS: Fire engine response times in certain areas will be hit, but which areas are affected is still not being made public.
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New details have emerged about the locations planned for merged fire stations in West Yorkshire if controversial brigade cutbacks get the go-ahead.

The county’s chief fire officer, Simon Pilling, is aiming to close stations in the Cookridge, Moortown, Garforth, Rothwell, Hunslet and Morley areas of Leeds.

They would be replaced by three new stations – and today the Yorkshire Evening Post can disclose the locations lined up for two of them.

A report compiled for the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority says the “ideal site” for the merged Cookridge and Moortown operation would be a station in or around the ring road in Weetwood

The report says the “best solution” for the combined Garforth and Rothwell set-up would be a station in Swillington.

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It does not suggest a site for the merged Hunslet and Morley station, other than to say it would be somewhere in south Leeds.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Fire Service yesterday stressed the new locations would meet the brigade’s operational requirements.

But the choice of Swillington and Weetwood as possible sites has been greeted with dismay by the Fire Brigades Union.

Its West Yorkshire brigade secretary, Dave Williams, told the YEP: “The reason why the fire stations are in their current locations is that they are needed for quick responses.

“Moving these stations simply doesn’t make any sense, except in terms of saving money.”

Councillors on the fire and rescue authority will decide at a meeting on Friday whether to put Mr Pilling’s plan out for public consultation.

As reported in yesterday’s YEP, the names of the council wards whose emergency response times would be hit by the changes are being kept secret ahead of the meeting.

Asked what message that sent out about transparency, authority chair and Kirklees Council leader Coun Mehboob Khan said the ward names would be released if the public consultation got the green light.

Mr Pilling’s proposed reorganisation is designed to deliver annual savings of £8m.

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