CLECKHEATON fire station is likely to be closed - with local fire cover re-located to Birkenshaw.

West Yorkshire Fire Service plans to shut the station, on Hightown Road, as part of cost cutting measures.

A new annex will be built at the Service’s Birkenshaw headquarters, 2.8 miles away, to replace the station.

The move will be discussed by West Yorkshire Fire Authority at a meeting next Thursday, when members will be asked to give the green light to an eight week public consultation into the plans.

One local Councillor has expressed her shock at the possible move.

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A report into the proposals say the current fire station, one of the oldest in West Yorkshire, is outdated, but it would cost £2.9 million to rebuild the station on the existing site. Moving it to Birkenshaw would only cost £1.3m.

And the Cleckheaton site could then be sold for an estimated £375,000.

The report says there will be no job losses, and “it is likely that there will be improved working conditions for those working at the Fire Station due to the improved quality of the facilities.”

At the Authority’s meeting members will be told that the move “would lead to an improved response to some high and very high-risk areas.”

Cleckheaton Station is home to two vehicles - a fire engine and a technical response unit - used across the region for complex emergencies. Forty members of staff are based at the site on a shift pattern.

A report to the Authority says: “Public services have faced significant financial constraints over the past ten years; this has presented West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority with significant challenges. Since 2010 the Authority has seen a substantial reduction in government funding. The requirement to make savings in the region of £26m has driven a redesign of how our service is delivered.”

As well as saving money, members will be told that the move will allow better response time to “high risk” areas covered by the station.

But the report acknowledges that some stations, including Fairweather Green, Rastrick, will have to attend more incidents due to the shake up.

Kirklees Councillor Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) had only heard about the plans when contacted by the Telegraph & Argus.

She said the Service had agreed that the station would be re-built earlier this year, and questioned how the change in policy came about to quick.

She added: “They’ve gone back on that decision.”

Cllr Pinnock said the Cleckheaton station was an important part of dealing with emergencies on the local motorway network, and a move from the site could harm this.

She said: “The reason the station has always remained there is the specialist unit based there that is used in road traffic accidents. The reason it is based there is the access to the M62, just going straight up the hill. That is the reason the station has remained there through all the re-structures.

“If they move this to Birkenshaw then that won’t be possible. It will be stuck in traffic around Chain Bar and the slip roads.

“The report doesn’t seem to reference this - it just mentions response to fires.

“It’s shocking they are thinking of pulling a well established public service out of the town. I think it’s appalling and I’ll be contacting the fire service to let them know my views.”