Fire union says no station closure

Firefighters at the scene of a major fire at a Furniture store on a Retail Park off Chesterfield Road,Woodseats
Firefighters at the scene of a major fire at a Furniture store on a Retail Park off Chesterfield Road,Woodseats

Folk living across the area could face longer waits for a fire engine if new proposals to close Alfreton Fire Station go ahead, unions have warned.

Under plans currently under consultation, Alfreton will share two fire engines with Ripley, Heanor and Crich - operating from one central station in Ripley.

This is a reduction from the current two housed at Alfreton and five overall which serve it and the three other stations set to close.

A spokesman from the Fire Brigades Union Alfreton branch said: “With the nearest fire engine coming from Ripley, many residential and industrial areas particularly in Alfreton and to the north and east would face increased emergency response times,

“Put bluntly, if you live in Alfreton, Swanwick, Leabrooks, Somercotes, South Normanton, Blackwell, Newton or Tibshelf, you will be waiting longer for a fire engine.

“This proposal also has a significant personal impact. The majority of retained firefighters currently serving at these stations face redundancy.

“Firstly due to the reductions in personnel, and secondly, because many will no longer live close enough to the new station to meet the required response time.”

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service plans to site the new station off the A610 to the east of its intersection with the A38.

Of the two fire engines based there, one would be staffed by 28 full-time staff and the other would be staffed by up to 17 retained staff.

If implemented in full, the plans would mean the loss of 16 fire engines and 11 fire stations with a loss of over 100 full-time firefighter posts.

Mark Longden, a retained firefighter at Alfreton Fire Station, said: “I am extremely concerned that a reduction within the area would put lives at greater risk in the community as well as local businesses.

“Alfreton station was upgraded because it has such a large industrial area and now it is facing closure - this will effect our turn around times in those at-risk areas.

“It seems quite a big risk to take - moving away from the area of greater risk.”

The Derbyshire Fire & Rescue consultation document states the number of incidents in the areas served by the four stations has decreased over the last four years by an average of 25 per cent.

And the majority of the areas covered by the four stations are classified as medium and low risk.

The document states those areas deemed as a higher risk will be targeted with significant additional community safety and risk reduction activities.

Chris Tapp, Derbyshire Fire Brigades Secretary, said: “We want this withdrawn and to start afresh looking at alternative methods of saving money.

“We believe these plans are dangerous and will increase response times.

“When a member of the public dials 999 they want a quick response. But Derbyshire Fire & Rescue has admitted the new plans mean only two-thirds of emergency calls will be answered within 10 minutes.”

The proposals are under consultation until 23rd December. To view the Transforming Service Delivery 2022 consultation visit www.derbys-fire.gov.uk.