Keighley and Worth Valley councillors have spoken of their fears for road safety and maintenance in the district if a council depot in Keighley succumbs to budget cuts.
As part of Bradford Council proposals to try and slash £82 million from its budget, the Stockbridge Depot, off Royd Ings Avenue, could see its staff and equipment shifted elsewhere.
The report to the district council, which summarises the recommended measures for the budget, warns: “The impact of the closure of the depot at Stockbridge and the consequent impact on winter maintenance operations will need to be carefully considered within the context of winter gritting routes and treatment programmes.”
It proposes reducing the number of operational bases used by Bradford Council’s Highways Delivery Unit, Traffic & Road Safety and Highway Maintenance teams by relocating staff, plant and materials from Stockbridge depot to other bases.
The report comments: “Winter maintenance operations would be significantly impacted by the reduction in operational bases, meaning longer times being necessary to grit the routes in the district, potentially meaning that areas in the north of the district may be untreated in periods of inclement weather.”
Reacting to the threat to the depot, Worth Valley ward councillor Russell Brown said: “This will significantly reduce the effectiveness of our highways team to undertake highway repairs, upgrades and winter gritting to the Shipley, Keighley and Ilkley areas, and so increase, delays, costs and complaints.
“Local Emergency Resilience Capacity could be completely compromised, with equipment and staff stuck at the other side of the city with the attendant risk to life and property.”
Cllr Brown said he did not think Bradford Council would close the whole depot, but warned that if Highways services currently based there end up on the far side of Bradford instead, Keighley will still lose out.
Keighley West ward councillor Brian Morris said Stockbridge Depot dates back to the time when Keighley had its own borough council.
He said he feared that if this established facility is downgraded highways issues in the Keighley area will receive even slower responses.
“They deal with flytipping from there and gritting vehicles leave from the depot too,” he said.
“There are a lot of things which could end up being affected. Whatever does happen to the depot will have a negative impact on the efficiency of work done in Keighley.
“What Bradford Council is doing is pulling everything into the middle of Bradford, so outlying parts of the district are suffering.
“Keighley is the biggest town in the district, so we feel the effect even more.”
Bradford Council has said it has already had to find more than £250 million in savings and increased income over the past six years due to imposed funding cuts from central government, rising demand for services and increasing costs.
It argues that it now faces “extremely difficult decisions” to close Bradford’s £82 million funding gap over the next four years.
The full programme of proposed budget cuts, which is now out to public consultation, is available to view and respond to via the Bradford Council website.