New fire station set to open in summer 2014

Barry Owen (Former fire fighter) and Mark Faulkner (South Elmsall fire station union) at the proposed site for the new fire station in South Kirkby
Barry Owen (Former fire fighter) and Mark Faulkner (South Elmsall fire station union) at the proposed site for the new fire station in South Kirkby
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A NEW fire station in South Kirkby, which is set to replace Hemsworth and South Elmsall stations, could open as soon as next summer.

The station will be built just off Avenue Lodeve on South Kirkby Business Park after planning permission was granted last month.

A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said that it is in the process of completing the purchase and expect the new station to open around the summer of 2014.

The fire service also confirmed that the closure of both Hemsworth and South Elmsall would be linked with the opening of the site in South Kirkby.

The new station will serve the whole of the south east district with one full-time frontline fire engine and an additional back-up engine that will be used during peak demand replacing one engine at Hemsworth and one at South Elmsall.

But the plans have been met with opposition from the community and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) who say it will lead to compulsory redundancies for exisiting firefighters.

Acting FBU secretary Dave Williams said that the proposals were that staff in Hemsworth would be made compulsory redundant and firefighters from South Elmsall would be offered positions at the new station or elsewhere in the county.

Mr Williams said: “We will actively campaign to get our members deployed into whatever role we can.”

The new station will adopt a Day Crew/Close Class approach which will see firefighters living at the station for the duration of 96 hour shifts.

“The other problem is the new working pattern. I don’t think anyone can really have a life at all if they work under the new shift pattern at the new station.

Mr Williams added that response times could almost double to ten minutes.

He said: “Nothing has changed in terms of our concerns. Longer response times will cost lives.”