Details emerge of new £18m West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue headquarteres

Works to improve the Birkenshaw headquarters of West Yorkshire Fire Service will cost around £18 million – over £2.7 m more than originally planned.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 7:00 am
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service HQ at Birkenshaw

More details of the service’s plans to refurbish the site have been revealed, and show that the plans include the sale of a Grade II listed hall currently used as office space by the fire service.

On Friday West Yorkshire Fire Authority will discuss the business case for the works to the headquarters, and vote on which option for the site to progress with.

A business case that will be presented to the Authority suggests that members chose an option that includes the demolition of the main training centre building on the site, the construction of a new headquarters in its place, the construction of a new training arena, conferencing facilities, a new Fire Station and the “release Oakroyd Hall and land to the west for sale.”

If all goes according to plan, work on the new HQ building is expected to be complete by early 2024.

Last year the Authority announced that as part of the redevelopment of its headquarters, the fire service would be closing Cleckheaton Fire Station and re-locating the cover it provided to the Birkenshaw site.

The Cleckheaton Station site would then be sold.

The business case going before Friday’s meeting shows that the plans also include the relocation of Fire Control and service delivery teams based at the existing Service Delivery Centre in Bramley to Birkenshaw.

A report accompanying the business case tells members “A property build, refurbishment and relocation project has previously been submitted to the Authority and a provisional Capital Budget of £15,379,609 for a spend in 21/22 and 22/23 has been included within the 5-year capital plan.

“Additional study work and inclusion of costs not previously considered have revised the requested capital budget to £18,115,794.”

As well as more modern buildings, the Birkenshaw headquarters is also home to Oakroyd Hall, a Grade II listed building dating back to the 1860s.

It is used as office space, and the business case says the building is “in need of significant investment or redevelopment.”

The report to the Authority says: “The combination of the new fire station and training facilities at HQ will lead to a more efficient and effective way of working for staff as well as an improved response to some of the highest risk communities in the county.

“The current layout and the culture it creates is not supportive of collaborative working as teams have little visibility and awareness of each other. Combining teams and functions in a well-planned and coherent layout should improve teamwork, efficiency and productivity.”

Members will be asked to support “Option 6” for the site – which is to “demolish the main training centre building and build a new HQ to incorporate fire control, a new training arena and conferencing facilities, and release Oakroyd Hall and land to the west for sale.”

It says the rising cost of the plans are in part down to “subsequent costs of construction inflation and contingency not captured in the provisional allocation.”

The costs include £1.2m to build the new replacement for Cleckheaton Fire Station and £8.2m for the new HQ building.