THE Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire declared Pontefract and Knottingley’s new emergency services hub officially open on Saturday.
Dr Ingrid Roscoe was joined by Yvette Cooper MP and representatives from the fire, police and ambulance services at the £2m state-of-the-art base on Stumpcross Lane, midway between the two towns.
Fire crews from the former Pontefract and Knottingley stations have been operating from the new station since February and are set to be joined by members of the Pontefract and Knottingley neighbourhood policing team and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, creating the country’s first combined “blue light base”.
The new station is part of a controversial programme which has seen several West Yorkshire fire stations closed or combined in response to budget cuts.
Mrs Cooper said: “The fire service has been forced to scale back the number of stations it operates due to government cuts and they are doing an excellent job under the circumstances.
“The facilities at the new Pontefract station are excellent and have good motorway links, but it’s worrying that cuts to the service could be than the more than 25 per cent already announced.
“West Yorkshire has been much more heavily hit than other fire services and the sheer scale of cuts they face is a serious concern.”
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority chairman Coun David Ridgway said: “The brigade prides itself on innovation and forward-thinking ideas like the sharing of facilities at Pontefract are excellent examples of how more can be delivered with less.”