THE opening of a new £4.5 million fire station in Shipley has moved another step closer with demolition dates for the two sites it is replacing now confirmed.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has applied to Bradford Council for permission to knock down the existing fire stations in Shipley and Idle.

The new station had been set to open in July, but the planning applications state that work to raze the two sites will start on June 5.

WYFRS state the work will be completed by August 25, after which the sites will be developed by the social housing landlord Incommunities.

Work on the new station, on Valley Road in Shipley, appears to be ahead of schedule, although a WYFRS spokesman said an official opening date was yet to be confirmed.

He said: “We will start the demolition at Idle and the old Shipley fire stations once the new fire station becomes operational.

“We have an obligation to pass over both Idle and old Shipley to Incommunities as a clear site by September 17.

“Incommunities will then start to build the social housing on these sites.”

The decision to merge the two existing stations was made as part of an ongoing efficiencies programme implemented by WYFRS to manage financial deficits caused by reduced government funding.

Fire chiefs say the new station will allow WYFRS to achieve “significant revenue savings without compromising public safety.”

It will be equipped with one pump and be crewed by 24 full-time firefighters spread over four shifts, providing daily, 24-hour emergency cover.

Incommunities has now confirmed that a total of 22 new family homes will be built across the two current sites.

Rupert Pometsey, director of Incommunities Lumia Homes, the development arm of the housing group, said: “We have planning approval to redevelop the existing fire station sites.

“These schemes will see the construction of 11 family-sized houses on each site, which will include a mix of tenure including affordable rent.

“We plan to start the developments as soon as the new station at Shipley becomes operational.”

The closure of the two existing stations has been criticised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), and West Yorkshire secretary David Williams said it would be a “sad day” when they closed their doors for the last time.

He said: “Crews are planning to have a memorial drink to celebrate the times they have had there.

“The new station is almost in the middle of nowhere, it is a reduction in cover, and people are upset at losing their local fire stations.”