MORE than 1,000 people have opposed the closure of Marsden fire station.
But West Yorkshire’s Fire Authority is expected to decide next Friday that the station should close, which would save £225,000.
Following the public consultation the authority explored the idea of merging Slaithwaite and Marsden into a central station.
But a report to the authority report says: “This has been evaluated and is not regarded as a feasible or cost effective option.
“The additional capital cost of a new fire station may also be restrictive compared to any minor benefit this would bring in response times for Marsden.”
Officials believe there may also be problems recruiting retained firefighters who are required to live within five minutes of the station.
A further option of providing a single day crewed station in the Colne Valley to replace Marsden, Meltham and Slaithwaite was also ruled out.
The report adds: “This option was considered but is not regarded as a suitable alternative due to the geography of the valley and also the predicted response time on evenings and nights from the one station.
“It is therefore recommended that Marsden fire station be closed.”
The main concerns of opponents relate to response times to Marsden, including rural communities and the surrounding moorland area, from the nearest station in Slaithwaite.
The Fire Officers Association called for the Meltham and Slaithwaite appliances to be available 100% of the time but that option has not been explored.
Clr Nicola Turner, who led the campaign to save the station, has criticised the fire authority for not allowing ward councillors to speak.
The authority’s constitution allows members of the public to pose questions if they give three days notice but politicians and authority employees can not.
Clr Turner has called on Kirklees Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan, who is also leader of the fire authority, to listen.
She said: “I’m absolutely appalled that the fire authority’s constitution does not allow ward councillors to speak or even ask questions on major issues such as the possible closure of fire stations.”
She’s calling on him to propose that standing orders be suspended to allow ward councillors to speak. The authority says it’s a matter for the chair.
The fire authority report shows 1,071 objections were submitted – a 596-signature e-petition via the councillors and a 420-signature e-petition from the Huddersfield Socialist Party.
The fire authority says no formal opposition was received from Kirklees Council and one resident emailed in support.
Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling said changes were needed: “The success of the brigade’s fire safety work over the past 10 years means there is undeniable scope for change.”
If approved, the plan would be implemented between 2013 and 2020.