WORK has started to build a new £2m state-of-the-art fire station for Pontefract and Knottingley in a shake-up of the fire cover across the Five Towns.
Pontefract councillor Phillip Booth, former chairman of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, cut the first sod at the Bondgate site in Pontefract, which will create a modern facility to replace the current fire stations in both towns.
Coun Booth said: “This represents a vital commitment to the communities of Knottingley and Pontefract and will be widely welcomed.
“It’s been a long time coming and the project has been delayed because of difficulties with land acquisition and other technical issues.
“The new site is in the perfect location, between the two existing stations and has great access to the roads network.
“It’s going to be a cracking facility for staff and it’s exciting to see it finally come to fruition.”
The new station, which is expected to be completed by early 2012, will accommodate two fire engines and include a steel frame training tower for rescue exercises, a gym, recreational area, meeting rooms and administrative offices.
Plans to build a new station were first revealed in 2006.
Deputy chief fire officer Steve Beckley, the brigade’s director of operations, said the station was in a key location which would allow firefighters to provide a quick response in emergencies.
He added: “Replacements for Normanton and Castleford stations will soon be coming on stream which, in total, will represent some £5m of investment in fire cover for the Five Towns.”
Last week, the Express reported that plans to replace Castleford fire station with a new station in Airedale had been scrapped – but it is understood improvements will be made to the existing site on Beancroft Road.