MP David Ward hits out over plans to merge Shipley and Idle fire stations (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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More concerns over West Yorkshire fire service shake-up plans
7:00am Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News
A Bradford MP who has backed a petition against the planned closure of two fire stations said he was “sceptical” about assurances over public safety.
David Ward, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, yesterday urged the public to sign an online petition to stop the proposed closure of Shipley and Idle fire stations as part of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s plans to save about £8million.
Under the controversial plans, their crews will be merged at a new station in Canal Road, Bradford, which would mean doubling response times for firefighters to reach emergencies in some areas.
Mr Ward and Bradford Council Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Jeanette Sunderland previously raised fears lives could be put at risk with chief fire officer Simon Pilling and Fire Brigades Union (FBU) representatives.
Mr Ward said yesterday: “The chief fire officer was certain in his own mind that there would be adequate cover but we are less than certain about the alternative site for a new station proposed for Canal Road.
“We are somewhat sceptical about the statistics they have shown us about the speeds that emergency vehicles can get to certain areas.
“It could take nine minutes to get to serious cases but the FBU will tell you – and they have evidence they have filmed – that if there is a fire in a room then in five minutes it will be more or less gone.”
Coun Sunderland, who launched the petition to save Shipley and Idle stations, said “vulnerable” people living in flats on Thorpe Edge and Ravenscliffe would face the longest response times under the fire service proposals.
She said: “The time it will take to get to fires in some areas of my ward will double and the figures that the fire service have produced are just for fires, they have not shown us figures for responding to road accidents.”
To sign the online petition, visit http://bradfordlibdems.org.uk/en/petition/stop-the-closure-of-shipley-and-idle-fire-stations