Reprieve for Leeds fire stations

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Four Leeds fire stations threatened with closure under a cost-cutting shake-up of the service are to remain open say councillors.

Morley, Hunslet, Rothwell and Garforth stations faced an uncertain future following a review carried out earlier this year by West Yorkshire Fire Service to help it cope with major public spending cuts.

It was proposed that Hunslet and Morley fire stations merge to provide two fire engines at a new station to be built between the two and Garforth and Rothwell stations also merge, to provide one engine at a new station between the two.

Following public consultation, councillors say the latest proposals – due to be unveiled today (Dec 14) and discussed by West Yorkshire Fire Authority next week – reprieve the four stations, although it is understood proposals to merge Cookridge and Moortown stations and remove one fire engine from Stanningley will go ahead.

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Authority members will make a decision on the revised proposals next Friday.

West Yorkshire Fire Service has suffered a 6.5 per cent spending cut over the past two years and faces further reductions totalling 18.5 per cent over the next two years.

Coun Keith Wakefield, council leader, said the proposal to save the four stations was “a great victory for common sense” but was still concerned about the cuts were having.

He said: “The decision to reject the proposals concerning these four important fire stations is a overwhelming victory for common sense which will enable the fire service to continue to deliver the fantastic service they provide.

“Like councils, fire authorities in northern cities have certainly been hit disproportionately hard by government cuts.”

Coun Brian Selby (Lab. Killingbeck and Seacroft), a fire authority member, said: “Lots of people have campaigned hard in opposition to the proposals concerning these fire stations.”

Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) added: “It is fantastic news that Rothwell fire station is to remain open.”

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