Review to take place into staffing at Ashfield Fire Station

Staffing levels at two Nottinghamshire fire stations – including Ashfield in Kirkby – will be reviewed four years after controversial cuts were made to crew numbers.

By Andrew Topping
Monday, 4th April 2022, 8:04 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 8:11 am

Ashfield and Retford fire stations are being looked at again after changes in 2018 saw staffing reduced from whole-time crews to part-time and on-call staff on night shifts.

Concerns were raised at the time that the decision could impact public safety, with Ashfield described as a ‘very important strategic station’ in accessing various parts of the county.

Ashfield Fire Station in Kirkby.

But now a leading member of the authority, the body which oversees Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s policy and budgets, has confirmed the stations’ staffing will be reviewed this year.

It will come as part of a full-scale assessment of resources across Nottinghamshire’s fire station network, with the review to also assess whether each station has sufficient equipment to serve their communities.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, chairman of the authority’s community safety committee and Ashfield Council leader, announced the review during the latest meeting.

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Coun Zadrozny, who has sat on the fire authority since 2009 and opposed the 2018 cuts, said: “It’s safe to say my view has not personally changed on this – my preference is always for whole-time crews at Ashfield Fire Station.

“Ashfield is the largest district in Nottinghamshire by population and housing. We have high areas of deprivation and a number of large sites like King’s Mill Hospital, chemical factories and bespoke challenges.

“I recognise the pressures of the budget, but my personal feeling is the crewing now is not quite right for Ashfield.

He said, following ‘deliberations’ with Coun Michael Payne, authority chairman, and Deputy Chief Fire Officer Craig Parkin, who takes over the top role later this month, ‘they have assured me of the new review taking place into crewing’.

He said: “It will be reporting back in autumn and we will be undertaking a full review of the crewing at Ashfield station, to see what gaps there are, what improvements are needed.”

However, he says he appreciates it might not lead to a return of whole-time crews at either Ashfield or Retford stations, with the 2018 move saving the fire service £500,000 a year.

Ashfield Fire Station previously operated 24-hours-a-day with 26 firefighters before being reduced to 12 full-time firefighters during the day from 8am to 6pm.

The reduction means there are now no firefighters based at the station at night, relying instead on ‘on-call’ staff.

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