Saturday, October 06, 2012

Plan B revealed - How to Save Gipton Fire Station

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 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


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 
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. 


Anonymous said...

Oh Sarah what have you done! well done and we wish you every success.

Anonymous said...

bloody marvellous - it deserves nothing less.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Sarah and her team who have worked tirelessly to keep this beautiful building open and operational. From all the members of the West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union and me personally, David Williams FBU Brigade Secretary

Sarah Covell said...

Thank you - and a million thanks must go to Andy Killingbeck. Without him spending HOURS with his head stuck in watch committee reports we wouldn't have had the research in place to try and do this.

Now we cross our fingers and wait ........ apart from writing to Eric Pickles of course to ask if the department of Communities and local government agree that fire stations are not classed as community assets and therefore not eligible for the community right to challenge! I and many other people think that they are .

Anonymous said...

10 /10 for thinking outside the box. i hope it works Gipton needs some TLC and she is a perfectly good operational station. IN THE RIGHT PLACE TOO

Anonymous said...

There are other stations you could do this for. Stanks is a now obsolete CLASP design and a fine example of late 60's brutalist architecture - which is currently very fashionable. She is to the best of my knowledge the only CLASP designed FS remaining.

It might be worth a bit of digging - good luck

Sarah Covell said...

Really! - thanks for that we will check it out. We learnt a fair old bit about Stanks whilst researching Gipton. At least we wont have to read the watch reports again. But a peep at the plans might be interesting. (and you think fire stations are female too! )

Anonymous said...

Well what you have done is waste your time - it won't stay open as a fire station because its not in the right place any more and that is a very simple fact - might make a good tyre repair depot

Sarah Covell said...

It isnt about her staying a fire station, although that makes sense to me and many others. Its about keeping her beautiful interior in tact. And even if I Am not successful it was worth every minute and i would do it again tomorrow.

tommy said...

Beautiful? Its not exactly Chatsworth is it , you need to change the rose tints

Sarah Covell said...

Certainly not. She is an amazing building and is beautiful.

knowitall said...

Pity the experts don't agree but just as well for the residents in the houses who would have needed permission to change the wallpaper and anybody who thinks its a community asset needs to have a proper look at the definition section ,don't waste any more time on a lost cause