21/10/2013 - Keeping Fire Fighting in the Worth Valley
21st October 2013
Joint approach to keeping fire fighting in the Worth Valley
The Worth Valley Transport Committee, whose members consist of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council; Keighley Town Council and Oxenhope Parish Council, are now coordinating the efforts to keep a fire-fighting capacity at Haworth Fire Station and develop a valley wide emergency response service.
The three local councils have been involved in talks aimed at ensuring that Haworth Fire Station, which was scheduled for closure in December 2012, will remain open and retain a fire-fighting capacity.
Earlier this year West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue confirmed that they were happy to consider the establishment of a new community-style emergency service centre utilising mainly volunteers.
To ensure that all the Worth Valley communities had a place at the negotiating table, the Parish and Town Councils in the area have agreed that their interests would be best served by the only existing tri-Council forum, the Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee.
Cllr John Huxley, chairman of the Joint Transport Committee and Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, said; "The Worth Valley communities were shocked when they saw the plans to close Haworth Fire Station in 2012 because they felt the loss of such a facility, together with the reduction in the number of fire engines in Keighley from two to one, left them over-exposed to risk because of potential increased reaction times in case of emergency.
"We were encouraged when West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue put closure of Haworth Fire Station on ice for two years to give us an opportunity to come up with a sustainable alternative community-based service plan.
"In our subsequent discussions with Fire and Rescue we have worked hard to reach a valley-wide solution and to ensure that the people from Oxenhope, Haworth and Oakworth, together with all the adjacent communities, could make their voices heard in the discussions with Fire & Rescue we agreed that the Joint Transport Committee should pull together the valleys response."
He added: "While we have undoubtedly made progress, it has not been easy. Nothing like this has been attempted before and we're still working very closely with Fire and Rescue to find a formula which will satisfy the need for a 'blue-light' presence in the valley.
"Given the current financial situation we are looking for an innovative solution without risking a 'double taxation' issue for the Worth Valley community charge payers.
"We will be meeting with Fire and Rescue again on October 29th when we hope to move the project on to the next stage."
Archive news from 19th December 2012 about Haworth Fire Station Public Meeting here...