Four Harrogate firefighters to be axed in April
Last updated Jan 9, 2024
Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe

The number of firefighters stationed in Harrogate will be cut by four in April.

The move, which will save £210,000, is part of plans to reduce the number of nighttime fire engines based in the town from two to one.

The Stray Ferret broke the news in 2022 that Zoe Metcalfe, the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner planned to shed frontline firefighting jobs as part of her Risk and Resource Model, which sets out how fire resources will be deployed.

The proposals were later adopted despite widespread safety concerns but they have yet to be implemented.

A report that will be debated by councillors on Thursday  (January 11) about setting the police and fire service precepts for the next financial year gives a brief update.

It says Harrogate will have four fewer firefighters from April this year. Scarborough is due to lose four firefighters next year, saving another £215,000. Another seven firefighters, described as ‘operational staffing reserve’, will also go in April next year, saving £375,000.

The report, which comes after Ms Metcalfe hinted council taxpayers may have to pay more for police and fire services this year,  warns “finances continue to be exceptional tight”.

The Stray Ferret asked Ms Metcalfe’s office how many firefighters will remain at Harrogate after the changes take effect and whether those affected had been offered alternative roles.

A spokesperson said:

“The proposals in the precept report are in line with the consultation and decisions made in relation to the Risk and Resource Model in September 2022.

“The report to which your questions refer will be discussed at the police, fire and crime panel meeting on Thursday, January 11 and it would not be appropriate for us to provide any further information at this time.”

The North Yorkshire Police Fire and Crime Panel, which is a joint committee of North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council, scrutinises the performance of the commissioner.

How will it work?

Harrogate fire station on Skipton Road.

Harrogate Fire Station

Currently, Harrogate Fire Station on Skipton Road has one fire engine which can respond to all callouts and one smaller tactical response vehicle. Both operate around the clock.

The tactical response vehicle will be replaced by a larger fire engine but it will only be crewed during the day.

Ms Metcalfe’s Risk and Resource Model said more fires occur during daytime, and having two fire engines at Harrogate would provide better daytime protection at key times.

But the second Harrogate appliance won’t be staffed between 10pm and 9am, meaning greater dependence on on-call firefighters in Knaresborough when a second fire engine is required at major incidents.

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