For many months now four of us have been working on PLAN B.
(although many have indicated they much prefer plan C or should that be G - but that's top secret and we will reveal it in early December)
After the quite frankly appalling decision that the West Yorkshire Fire Authority made in December 2011 to close 10 fire stations and build 5 new ones, we (community activists Sarah Covell and Sam Hirst , retired firefighter Andy Killingbeck, & FBU secretary David Williams) decided that something had to be done about it.
As we at FCCL are all Leeds based we targeted the old lady of the WYFRS estate
GIPTON FIRE STATION.
Gipton today held a 75th Birthday Party - attended and indeed opened by the fire services chief hatchet man CFO Simon Pilling. And perhaps that party didn't start off exactly as he planned, as early this morning the BBC slapped it all over the local front page of their website what we had done. We are so proud we wont stop smirking for a week. We have applied to English Heritage to have Gipton Fire Station listed as an historic asset. See the article Here
In layman terms this means
FCCL HAVE APPLIED TO HAVE GIPTON FIRE STATION GRADE 2 LISTED
This means several things .................
- She will have to remain basically intact and any alterations be approved by English Heritage and Leeds city council planners
- She will not be allowed to be demolished
- She will if sold need special permission for any planning consent
So what does this mean for WYFRS? - Well trying to sell a building with a potential listing hanging over it will be "challenging" and will without a doubt mean the price of her will be lower than previously anticipated.
If we are successful and she does get grade 2 status - what can you do with a 1930's fire station?
....... keep her operational !!!!
London Fire and Rescue we discovered during our research actually value their old stations and sympathetically restore them whilst keeping them operational. They actually write papers in partnership with English Heritage on the subject of fire station restoration. Read the document HERE
We know as Gipton is closer to the areas of high risk in the area than the proposed site of South Seacroft for the new station is it would make sense (if WYFRS know the meaning of the word) to keep her open and plough the £££££'s it will cost to buy the land and build a station into renovating Gipton to a suitably high standard for the staff who work in her, whilst retaining her historic value for the community.
We will be informing all our local councillors and MPs of our views and will strongly urge them to support the listing application
AND keeping her operational.
In the supposed age of austerity why close a
VERY HIGH RISK _ LOW COST STATION
and build a new one?
If we are successful of course this will also bring into consideration the stations at Stanks, Moortown and even Garforth and Hunslet as the predicted response times etc will invariable change - we believe for the better of the people of East Leeds.
And below are a few pics of why we think she should be listed
She has her original tiled walls and door frame that are not altered
Her parquet floor upstairs is intact
And her beautiful curvy appliance bay tiles are SO industrial art deco
We will tell you more about Giptons history later on but for now raise a glass of whatever you fancy and wish
Gipton Fire Station a very happy 75th Birthday
and a long and sustained operational life.