MORE than 100 people turned out on Tuesday night to hear why West Yorkshire Fire Service want to shut Marsden Fire Station, which has been a presence in the village for more than 100 years.
Fire chiefs say they are under pressure from the Government to cut millions from their budget and their plans include closing a number of stations.
But hundreds of residents have signed a petition protesting about the proposal, fearing that lives may be put at risk and moorland fires may prove harder to extinguish.
On Tuesday at the Mechanics Institute, a high-powered line-up from the fire service, including assistant chief fire officer Martyn Redfearn, outlined why the station which last year cost £225,000 to maintain had to close.
He said: “There’s nothing flowery about this meeting. We are not going to give you anything extra. All we can say is that we are proposing to shut Marsden Fire Station.
“The fact is that Marsden has had a generous provision for some time that the service can no longer afford.
“We are shutting Dewsbury and Batley and building one station inbetween. When we shut Marsden will depend on various things. The fact is that if we shut Marsden it will be covered from Slaithwaite, Meltham or somewhere else.”
He said Marsden had covered 143 incidents last year with only 13 of them involving lives at risk.
And he said there were other decent-sized villages in the Huddersfield area such as Honley and Kirkburton which didn’t possess fire stations.
“I was born in Meltham,” he added.
“I have a strong feeling for local communities.”
But William Pinder, 86, of Marsden, said: “I think it’s very, very badly thought out. We should get the same service as they do in Huddersfield as we pay the same rates.”
And he questioned how the service would cope with a severe moorland fire without a station at Marsden when a speedy response is essential.
Pat Jones, a social worker, said she was concerned at the proposals.
“I am shocked that they are talking about doing this for such a small amount of savings,” she said.