PARISH councillors have vowed to keep fighting for the future of their fire station after recent forest fires highlighted its importance to the area.
Members of Edwinstowe Parish Council made stopping the proposed closure of the village’s retained fire station its most immediate priority during its AGM.
Vice-chairman, Coun John Peck, said that the council would continue to campaign to keep the station open, after already handing in a petition against the closure.
The council is now waiting to see what Nottinghamshire Fire Authority’s working party - which is considering the Chief Fire Officer’s review of fire cover in the county, in which the closure was suggested - reports back to the authority with.
Said Coun Peck: “We will be making a response to the report, a strong response, but the whole issue has been highlighted recently because the fire engine has been out on a regular basis during this dry spell, fighting a number of forest fires and grass fires in the Sherwood Forest area.
“That’s the point we will be making to the fire authority very strongly.”
Edwinstowe Fire Station’s proximity to Sherwood Forest is one of the key points of the parish council’s argument for keeping it open.
In the past week alone, the engine from Edwinstowe has been called out to large grass and tree fires at Warsop Windmill and off Wood Lane in Church Warsop.
Councillors feel that this factor needs to be taken into account when deciding whether to keep the fire station open.
“Edwinstowe Fire Station is to some extent a special case,” said Coun Peck.
“The village is surrounded by Sherwood Forest so they shouldn’t just be looking at residential property but at the fact we have an issue with the forest and forest fires.
“Our fire station is absolutely crucial in making sure there’s a rapid response to forest fires.”
The Chief Fire Officer’s fire cover review was presented to the fire authority in February.
In it he stated that the two part-time appliances based at Edwinstowe and nearby Warsop should be replaced with a single full-time engine towards the Ollerton area, because they are fairly low risk areas and because this would “improve the service delivery model.”
The fire authority’s working group has already met four times in its role to discuss the fire cover review, and will meet again before bringing a final report to the next meeting of the fire authority on Friday 24th June.
According to a spokeswoman, it is anticipated that at that meeting, the fire authority will ask the Chief Fire Officer to prepare recommendations for the way forward and that these will be presented to the authority meeting on Friday 16th September.
A public consultation will then follow.
Meanwhile, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched a consultation on plans to remove the second fire engine from Shirebrook fire station - a move that would leave the area with even less fire service cover.