Resassurances after fears for future of Northallerton fire station

The Northern Echo: ZONE LEAD: Reassurances after fears for future of town's fire station ZONE LEAD: Reassurances after fears for future of town's fire station

REASSURANCES have been given that Northallerton will not lose its fire cover after mounting concern the fire station site could be included in a major redevelopment of the heart of the town.

Hambleton District Council’s cabinet has agreed to spend £30,000 on a review by consultants into a masterplan for the centre of the town following closure of the prison and the rural payments agency.

More than 600 jobs are being lost in the town and it is hoped the site could be used for major economic regeneration.

As the offices border the existing fire station site and the council-owned Crosby Road car park it was agreed these should be included in the area considered for development.

But Coun John Coulson told the cabinet meeting there had been rising concern from people whose homes bordered the car park and about the fire station.

He said: “People didn’t know the fire service were reviewing their estate. I really do welcome this but I think we should have had more meat on the bone before it was made public.”

Council leader Mark Robson said it would be up to the fire authority to decide what they wanted to do, but it would all be looked at as part of the study.

“Be assured under no circumstances would the fire station close so there is no fire cover in Northallerton. There will always be a fire station,” he added.

Simon Garnett-Spence, of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "As part of our estates strategy we keep all our property under review and will continue to look at the impact of any changes to the fire station site in Northallerton.

"We do not currently have any plans to change anything on the site.”

In the wake of the meeting an employment fair took place in the town hall as part of a continuing drive to capitalise on the town’s assets following the close of the prison and RPA, with the focus turning towards entrepreneurial skills.

Local entrepreneur and vice chair of the York, North Yorkshire and Local Enterprise Partnership David Kerfoot said: “Although relocations have been offered to staff from the RPA and the prison, commuting or moving to York or even, as some prison officers have found, Doncaster, is not a feasible measure; especially for those who work part-time or flexibly around family commitments.”

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