Firefighter jobs to be discussed and closure of Ossett Station

Ossett fire station
Ossett fire station

CONTROVERSIAL plans to close Ossett Fire Station will be discussed at a public meeting later this month.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority announced last month that the Dale Street station would close to help them save up to £12m.

The authority is looking to build a new station near the M1 motorway at junction 40.

But the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has claimed around 20 firefighter posts could be axed in the move.

And people will be able to find out more about the proposal and ask questions at Ossett Community Centre, on Prospect Road, on Monday, October 22.

Ossett Coun Angela Taylor, a member of the fire authority committee which agreed to consult on Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling’s controversial plans, has organised the meeting.

And she said fire authority officers would be there to take questions.

She said: “For Ossett in particular it would be a shame to lose the station because it does so much for the community.

“But the important thing is that people are clear on the facts, and that is the purpose of this meeting.”

The proposals, set to take effect between 2016 and 2020, include the closure of Rothwell Fire Station and the loss of one of Wakefield Fire Station’s two engines.

Average response times would increase as a result, and FBU chiefs have criticised the plans, claiming they would put public safety at risk.

But Mr Pilling insisted there was no added threat to the public. He said the fire service had no choice but to make changes due to government budget cuts, and stressed that successes over the last 20 years had left the service in a position to handle the cuts.

At a meeting of Wakefield Council last month, leader Coun Peter Box said he sympathised with the authority but said the plans could have “potentially serious consequences”.

Ossett’s public meeting will start at 7.30pm.