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Moving fire station risks letting York city centre burn
As Heritage Champion I've urged the fire brigade chiefs not to abandon the station on Clifford Street and move fire engines away from the city centre. This will only put York's heritage at risk.
A smaller fire station built at Kent Street, with only one tender, would put unacceptable pressures on the fire crews.
Fire crews would have to stand by and watch the Historic Core of York burn while they wait for a second tender to arrive from Huntington or Acomb. Fire-fighters would feel that they were under intolerable pressure to break with the accepted safety standards to enter a burning building without the back-up of a second crew.
York city centre, with its greater percentage of multi-storey buildings, less easily accessible buildings, nationally-important heritage buildings, and timber-framed buildings requires an immediate response in times of emergency.
Currently, the Fire Service keeps an Aerial Ladder Platform at Clifford Street to deal with high-rise fires, and we saw how vital this was in 2005 when the Fulford Place flats caught fire (pictured). Under the current proposals, this platform would be moved to Huntington. Not just the centre, and new high-rise University accommodation, but the suburbs and villages to the South and East would be at a detriment.
I was outraged at the meeting this week in which the Fire Service claimed it was already "agreed" that Fire Tenders would be moved away from Clifford Street. The response to its previous consultation was overwhelmingly opposed to the changes, with 86% of respondents objecting. If the objections to the earlier consultation can so easily be ignored by North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, one wonders whether they're really listening to people's concerns.
It's time there was a proper referendum about this, and for it to be legally binding on what local people want!
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