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English Heritage plea to protect Leeds fire station

Outside Gipton Fire Station, from left, Dave Williams, West Yorkshire Fire Brigade Union secretary, Sarah Covell, community activist, Andy Killingbeck, retired fire fighter.

Outside Gipton Fire Station, from left, Dave Williams, West Yorkshire Fire Brigade Union secretary, Sarah Covell, community activist, Andy Killingbeck, retired fire fighter.

Campaigners are hoping to get a historic Leeds fire station listed to prevent it being demolished when it is closed and sold.

The group of local activists are applying to English Heritage to get Gipton Fire Station listed as an historic asset.

They hope their actions will result in the building being given Grade 2 status and therefore mean it has to be preserved for the nation.

Gipton Station, which is the oldest operational fire station in West Yorkshire, celebrated its 75th birthday last Saturday.

But the West Yorkshire Fire Authority has approved the closure of Gipton, along with nine other stations, as part of cost-cutting measures last December which will also involve the loss of a number of fire engines.

Fire Brigades Union Secretary, David Williams, has been working on the plan to save the “beautiful” building since January.

He told the YEP: “To reach 75 operational years is a momentous occasion.

“The station being listed would be a fitting tribute and will ensure the building will be left for the people of East Leeds. It will be a lasting memorial for all those who have worked in the fire and rescue service.”

There are fears that if the station is sold off it could fall into disrepair or be demolished altogether.

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Campaigners also say the building’s original features could become a target for vandalism if it is closed down.

If the status is granted it would prevent the station from being demolished or unsympathetically restored.

In the application, the campaigners argue that the site forms a major part of the heritage of inner East Leeds and is something the community are “immensely proud of.”

Local community activist, Sarah Covell has also been working on the application.

She said: “The national audit office has designated Gipton a very high risk – low cost station.

“It seems foolish and short-sighted not to consider keeping Gipton open, renovated and fully operational.”

Andy Killingbeck from Seacroft served at Gipton for 31 years.

The retired firefighter said: “Why build a new station further away that will cost more to build than it would to revitalise this jewel in the crown of the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service?”

English Heritage have acknowledged receipt of the application but as the building is not in immediate danger the process could take several months.

 

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