Fire sale: Leeds station set to be turned into community centre

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A Leeds fire station is up for sale – and could be turned into a community centre.

Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) is in negotiations with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to purchase Gipton fire station.

News that the 77-year-old station, on Gipton Approach, was to be put up for sale sparked a campaign to secure it with listed status in 2012.

The proposed purchase by LCF – for an as-yet undisclosed fee – looks set to protect it from demolition.

The foundation is working with community groups Zest Health for Life, GIPSIL (Gipton Supported Independent Living) and St Vincent’s, on plans to turn the station into a community centre.

It has been given a funding pledge by Jimbo’s Fund – the charitable organisation named after Leeds businessman Jimi Heselden, who died three years ago.

LCF Chief Executive Sally-Anne Greenfield added: “We were delighted to have been approached by three locally-based and respected groups in east Leeds about the possibility of supporting their plans to transform the fire station.”

The fire service, which is selling the station as part of cost-cutting plans, will start building work on the new Killingbeck Fire Station – to merge Gipton and Stanks fire stations – in April. The new station is due to open by October 2015, when Gipton station would then be handed over to the community partnership.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling said: “The sale of Gipton fire station, together with the purchase of the Killingbeck site, marks a significant milestone towards achieving the strategic review of emergency response provision in the area, across Leeds district and as part of the county wide programme of fire service restructure.

“Gipton Fire Station has operated for nearly 80 years and therefore it is so very pleasing that residents will be able to continue to use and enjoy the facilities and services of the new community centre.”

Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

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