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Rawdon and Otley fire stations to stay open under new emergency response plans

Due to difficulties in identifying a suitable site for a new fire station in Menston, which was due to be replacing Otley and Rawdon stations, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has revised its plans.

Fire bosses anticipate that the communities of Otley and Rawdon will be pleased to learn that the stations will now stay open in their areas and will benefit from investment over the longer term.

The latest plans also mean that there will be no job losses at the retained Otley Fire Station, whereas a dozen redundancies of Retained Duty System firefighter posts were a key feature of former proposals.

The only staffing change at Rawdon Fire Station will see it go from a Wholetime Shift System to a Wholetime Day Crewed Duty System.  

The day crewing system uses a pool of full-time firefighters who will work at the station by day and provide emergency response from home during the evening and overnight.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Steve Beckley, said: “We have had significant difficulties identifying an appropriate site for a new fire station in the Menston area. In spite of this disappointment, I am pleased that we are able to offer an alternative proposal that delivers a high standard of service for communities in this area, alongside the necessary efficiency savings.

“I’m sure that people who live in the locality of Otley and Rawdon will be pleased by this decision and we look forward to investing in these stations to ensure they remain fit for purpose for the future.”

The new proposal offers similar levels of service to the original proposal, with the added benefit of keeping two fire stations in the area instead of one.

In December 2011 West Yorkshire Fire Authority approved plans for a new station at Menston, replacing Otley and Rawdon, as part of the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP).

This was the result of a strategic review of emergency cover across West Yorkshire in response to a reduction in risk and significant shortfalls in funding due to cuts to Government grant.  These proposals were subject to extensive public consultation at the time.

The IRMP has seen building work already well underway on five new stations for West Yorkshire – South Kirkby, Rothwell, Rastrick, Killingbeck and Carlton Road.

At a Full Fire Authority meeting today (Friday) the revised plans for Otley and Rawdon fire stations were approved.

Chair of the Authority, Councillor Judith Hughes, said: “The Authority is pleased that a suitable alternative has been found which will offer communities a good standard of emergency cover, well within target response times.”

To ensure emergency response times are met, a requirement of the Wholetime Day Crewed Duty System is that firefighters live close-by to the station. Any firefighters currently working at Rawdon Fire Station who are unable to meet this requirement may be relocated elsewhere within the brigade.

Otley Fire Station was built in 1956 whilst Rawdon was built in 1974 and both have historical meaning for their local communities.