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Councillors slam fire station closure plans

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Alfreton Town councillors have come out in force against proposals to close their fire station.

If the plans go ahead Alfreton would 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.

A spokesman for Alfreton Town Council said the new station at Ripley would mean increased response times to areas of Alfreton and an increased risk to the public and to firefighters facing bigger and more dangerous fires.

He added: “Alfreton is home to two substantial industrial estates where some of the companies involved create a real and specialist firefighting need.”

Alfreton mayor Coun John Walker told a meeting of the town council: “First of all I am disappointed that the fire service are not prepared to talk directly to us.

“They were keen to engage with us some years ago when the current station was built, but now they want to close it we do not seem to matter.

“It is a fact of life that this government wants to reduce costs in the public sector, but I am staggered that they are prepared to do so with the resulting risk to the public and the need to jeopardise the jobs of people who work in often heroic circumstances.

“We are amazed that Alfreton Station is suddenly seen as not fit for purpose. It was built for the task in hand and its proximity to the A38, M1 and the large industrial estates around Alfreton should mean that it is left intact.

“It beggars belief that the Fire Service can see a positive in closing Alfreton Fire Station and starting from scratch two miles way.”

Alfreton Town Council agreed unanimously to send a letter to Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills asking for a review of fire service cuts in Derbyshire and another to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Services outlining its concern at the lack of engagement on the proposals.

Meanwhile, members of Derbyshire Fire Brigades Union have handed in a petition signed by thousands in fierce opposition to the proposals to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service’s consultation on the proposals entitled Transforming Service Delivery 2022 has now ended.

Deputy Chief Executive Joy Smith said: “The service has been extremely encouraged by the number of online consultation surveys it has received during the 12 week Fit to Respond consultation.

“All comments and views on the proposals returned through the consultation process will now be fed into the evaluation process.

“A full evaluation report of the comprehensive consultation will be taken to the next meeting of the Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Authority scheduled for February 2014, following which the results and outcomes will be made public.”

 

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