Rally to stop cuts at Ashfield Fire Station and update

Gloria De Piero MP along with Fire Fighters and supporters demonstrating against proposed cuts to staffing levels in Ashfield
Gloria De Piero MP along with Fire Fighters and supporters demonstrating against proposed cuts to staffing levels in Ashfield

A rally was held outside of Ashfield Fire Station today to appose plans to only use on-call part-time firefighters during the twelve hour night shift.

The plan revealed earlier this week stated that Notts Fire Authority was considering only having whole-time firefighters during the day shift.

The proposed changes were put before Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire and Rescue Authority today, no decisions have currently been released.

It has now been revealed that the same cuts could be made to Retford and Worksop.

At the authority meeting today Councillor Zadrozny, who is on the authority, said, “I am bitterly disappointed that my colleagues chose to ignore my concerns. I have concerns that this will be not be a genuine consultation.

“I attempted to put a motion to the Authority removing Ashfield Fire Station from the consultation.

“Labour and the Conservatives failed to support my move.

“I was the only councillor to vote against the life threatening proposals.

“Ashfield and Mansfield have 25 percent of the total population of our County but only have 13 percent of fire appliances. That’s before any change.

“Of the three fire stations to be consulted on, Ashfield has by far the highest number of call outs. It also serves the A38 and M1.

“These proposals are crazy and it’s clear that people agree. Our online petition already has 2113 signatures and this is growing by the hour.

“The decision to include Ashfield in cost cutting proposals means that the threat to Ashfield’s fire-fighters is a step closer.

“Ashfield Independents will be releasing details of how to get involved in the consultation when details are released.”

While at the rally MP De Piero did say she will support the firefighters.

Councillor John Knight, who represents the ward the station is in, attended the rally.

He said: “I am not sure what logic there is to the proposed changes in Kirkby. This is one of the most densely populated areas of the country, still more the county. Kirkby has the fourth highest call out rate in the service. I would also question the figures the fire authority think they are going to save with these changes.”

Two off duty firefighters were also at the rally.

Richard Johnston, 50, who has been a whole-time firefighter for 23 years and a dual contract firefighter for 5 years, said: “I do sympathise with chief, there is only small pot of money for them.

“I do think they are picking the wrong station to cut.

“I don’t think the increase in turnout time is acceptable. Anyone unfortunate enough to use us they know every second is vital.”

Steve Brentnall, a whole-time firefighter at Ashfield station said: “Retain staff do have a place in modern fire stations.

“We get over 1000 calls a year it is too busy to solely have retain staff.

“They do have a place in little villages were this cut would be cost effect.

“But the sheer size of Ashfield means that to make this cut is dangerous. It is not a case of if it will cost lives it is a case of when.”