FIREFIGHTERS are getting closer to moving into their new base in the centre of York as construction work enters its final stages.

The £2.3 million station on the site of the former Kent Street coach park, next to the Barbican Centre, was designed after North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said its Clifford Street station was too old and no longer fit for purpose.

The Kent Street base will have a training tower, three vehicle bays and a fire safety office, with local groups being able to use a community room at the site.

It will also house a rescue boat, although only one full-time crewed fire engine will be stationed there – one fewer than the current set-up at Clifford Street.

The other engine will be transferred to the service’s station next to the outer ring road.

The new fire base is expected to be completed next month and become operational by April.

It was opposed by York Civic Trust, York Conservation Trust and the Fire Brigades Union over fears moving one engine away from the city-centre could leave historic buildings in the heart of York at risk if they catch fire. But the service has said the new arrangements will provide better cover for residents in northern York and allow crews to attend crashes more quickly.