plans to ‘merge’ two Leeds fire stations that critics say will ‘cost lives’ have taken a step forward.
Members of Leeds City Council’s north and east plans panel yesterday discussed issues relating to the consolidation of Gipton and Stanks stations.
Planning permission is being sought to bring them together in a new fire station on the site of a former petrol station at Killingbeck in east Leeds by 2015.
The move will reduce the number of pumps from three to two, and see the loss of 24 members of staff, according to West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union (WYFBU).
David Williams, WYFBU secretary, said the Union actively opposed the plan that would reduce fire cover and increase response times.
He said: “Minutes matter. Closing Gipton and Stanks stations and moving them a couple of miles further out is not right and we will continue to oppose it. It will cost lives.”
He added: “There will be a reduction in fire cover. People will not experience the same response times. While they might not notice any difference on the first call, they will see delays on the second and third calls as resources are stretched.”
The existing stations at Gipton and Stanks are located 3.7 miles apart. The application is for a new two-storey fire station with associated access, car parking and landscaping.
Proposed accommodation will comprise of a three-bay vehicle garage, offices, sleeping facilities and rest and recreation areas.
A training tower measuring 13.89 metres is to be located to the west of the site.
If passed the new station would be located just north of the A64 York Road, at its junction with Moresdale Lane, to the east of Killingbeck Police Station.
One third of the site comprises a former petrol filling station. The other two-thirds is green belt.
Consolidating the two would represent an ‘economic, effective and efficient way of providing fire and rescue services for these areas’, according to the case put forward by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS).
Submitted documents claim both Gipton and Stanks stations are ‘dated’ and ‘not situated within the best locations to serve the catchment area’. English Heritage wants to make Gipton station a listed building.