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Haworth Fire Station survival plan goes.... 

Haworth Fire Station survival plan goes to the next stage.
Cllr John Huxley, Chairman of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council and Cllr. Neal Cameron, chairman of Oxenhope Parish Council representing the Worth Valley Joint Transport and Emergency Services Committee met with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority’s Community Safety Committee to discuss the future of Haworth Fire Station on Friday, April 25th.

And the Community Safety Committee agreed a package that will enable the Parish and Town Councils from the Worth Valley to go to the next stage in their attempt to keep Haworth Fire Station as an emergency service centre for the valley and develop it into a safety hub for the whole valley.

In December 2012 the Fire and Rescue Authority approved a two-year moratorium on the proposed closure of Haworth Fire Station in order that discussions with Parish Councils in the valley concerning a community-led rescue plan could be fully explored.

Since that time discussions between Fire and Rescue’s senior officers and the Worth Valley Joint Transport and Emergency Services Committee have been taking place while various models and propositions were fully explored.

In January 2014 a conference concerning the future of Haworth Fire station and the community plans to keep a fire service presence in the valley as well as the creation of a centralised ‘blue light’ hub for the valley communities were explored with representatives from the Police, Fire and Rescue, Hill Rescue, District Councillors and Bradford Council officers.

What emerged from the conference was a blueprint for a community takeover of Haworth Fire Station building at the end of 2014 when it is scheduled for closure as a station manned by retained, part-time fire-fighters.

The take-over by the community involves the creation of a volunteer-run service that would be fully trained in fire prevention and other community safety skills. Ultimately it is hoped that the Centre could deliver the ambition of working with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to gradually increase the skill-base to a point where a volunteer fire-fighting unit, complimentary to the full-time fire-fighting team at Keighley Fire Station could be established. If successful, this would be the first of its kind in West Yorkshire, although volunteer fire stations do exist in other parts of the UK.

Central to the discussions about the Fire Station’s future has been its development as a hub for not only Fire and Rescue within the Worth Valley but also its development into a base for Neighbourhood Policing and for the Calderdale Hill Rescue Service, who are responsible for the provision of safety cover from Calderdale as far north as Ilkley Moor.

Now the three local councils involved in the battle to keep Haworth Fire Station open through the Worth Valley Joint Transport and Emergency Services Committee: Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, Keighley Town Council and Oxenhope Parish Council will have an opportunity to discuss in detail the package that the Fire and Rescue Authority are making available to them.

Cllr. Huxley, chairman of the Worth Valley Joint Transport and Emergency Services Committee, said: “We've been working very closely with the senior officer team at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to create a business model that would enable us to retain Haworth Fire Station as a sustainable and viable service centre for the Worth Valley communities.

“It has been a long process because there was no similar model in the country we could study. It’s a ground-breaking concept and what has become clear is that if we succeed in making it work it could provide the basis for other similar community-run schemes for rural communities faced with the loss of their local fire station.

“After all the discussions we've now reached a position where we can recommend to our respective councils a concept which we believe will give us the basis to ultimately keep fire-fighting in the Worth Valley and, at the same time, create a service centre that will keep our communities safe as well as provide excellent value for money.”

Now the plan will be tabled fur discussion at Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council’s next meeting on Tuesday, May 6th; Keighley Town Council’s Watch and Transport Committee on Monday, May 12th and Oxenhope Parish Council’s meeting on Wednesday, May 14th.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Steve Beckley said: “We are pleased to be able to support the Worth Valley Parish Councils in their desire to retain some kind of community safety services at Haworth fire station. We already use volunteers to support our community safety activity in some areas and this project offers an exciting opportunity to formalise a true partnership where local people contribute to keeping their community safe by preventing fires and other incidents such as road traffic collisions.

“The Worth Valley is a very safe place to live work and visit and we want to keep it that way. Emergency cover for the Worth Valley will continue to be provided by our professional firefighters at Keighley and Bingley, supported by other fire stations”.

Archive news from 21 October 2013 about Keeping Fire Fighting in the Worth Valley here...
Archive news from 19th December 2012 about Haworth Fire Station Public Meeting here...

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