Derbyshire Fire says station closures are a ‘last resort’

Posted under Miscellaneous on 13 Feb 2014

Plans to shut 19 fire stations across Derbyshire and make firefighters redundant to save the fire authority money have been scrapped.

The fire authority said it would instead approve new proposals to save the service money.

The decision comes after 85% of people who took part in a consultation said they were against the closures.

Fire chiefs voted for the new plans and said stations would only close in future “as a last resort”.

The service had initially suggested shutting a third of fire stations and cutting a quarter of full-time firefighters in a bid to save the service £4.4m over four years.

More than 40,000 people signed a petition set up by the Fire Brigades Union opposing the cuts.

People said they were worried about the effects on response times and shutting newly-opened stations.

‘Remain vigilant’

Vice chairman of the Derbyshire Fire Authority Paul Bayliss said the authority understood “that fire stations are a symbol of fire safety to the public”.

He said a “working group” had now been set up by the organisation to look at other alternatives for saving money.

They include sharing resources with neighbouring services, having a shared headquarters with Derbyshire Police in Ripley and introducing smaller vehicles.

Frank Hughes from the Save Melbourne Fire Station group, said: “We are really pleased with the level of response from people in Derbyshire and that the fire service has listened to their concerns.

“They haven’t ruled out closures completely and we have got to remain vigilant that we can keep our station open.”

Chris Tapp from the Derbyshire branch of the Fire Brigades Union, added: “We are never going to get something gold-plated to never close the stations but over the next two years we are going to do everything we can to avoid it.”

He said the union would work with the authority over the coming months to look at the alternatives to closures.

Source: bbc.co.uk