PROPOSALS launched this week for Worksop Fire Station to share its resources with Retford have been criticised by the Fire Brigade Union (FBU).
Notts Fire and Rescue began a 12-week public consultation on Monday for plans which would see more cover directed away from Retford to Worksop which is deemed to be a higher risk area.
But Notts FBU vice chairman Bob Mould said the plans lacked detail and caused great concern.
“I have asked the chief fire officer for more details as there’s just not enough meat on the bones,” he said.
“I just hope the brigade is going to listen to what the public has to say and that it’s not going to be just a boxticking exercise.”
It is proposed that Worksop and Retford, which currently each have one wholetime and one retained crew, share resources but maintain cover at all times - to take effect in 2013/14.
The consultation document also suggests re-locating wholetime firefighters from Retford to Worksop, leaving Retford served by a retained crew for the part of the day.
Fire chiefs say evidence shows Retford is a low-risk area, while Worksop has a “higher risk profile” and woud benefit from more resources at key times.
They are also proposing a wholetime crew for Retford 12 hours a day during peak times, with the area supported by exisiting retained firefighters and other neighbouring crews for the remainder of the day.
At Worksop, additional wholetime firefighters would be provided from Retford to improve the cover available during periods of higher demand.
Both locations would continue to be served by two crews at all times.
But Mr Mould said both stations, in particular Retford, would suffer.
“I sincerely believe there’s a case for a wholetime pump to be based permanently at Retford - it’s going to mean more delays in getting to house fires, which could cost lives,” he said.
“The A1 is on the doorstep and Retford is near several power stations, and you only have to cast your mind back to the flooding in 2007 to see how badly the town was affected.”
He added: “Morale at both stations is really low - it’s like having an axe hanging over us because we just don’t know what is going to happen.”
“But I am confident we’re not fighting this battle alone, and have got a lot of support from local councillors, MP John Mann and over 30,000 signatures from the public.”
The county’s fire service has to make savings of 35 per cent over the next three years and has undertaken the first major review of fire cover in 75 years.
Fire Authority chairman Coun Darrell Pulk urged the public to read the consultation document and feedback with their views on the proposed changes.
“Communities have changed greatly in the last 20 years and activity levels have fallen significantly so we need to reflect those changes in the way we provide our services,” he said.
“These proposals take account of the staff, equipment and vehicles that are currently available, where they are most needed and the support they give toe ach other to provide a county-wide service.”
The public consultation will run for 12 weeks until 23rd October before the Fire Authority makes its final decision on 16th September.
There will be a range of meetings with business groups and parish forums. To take part visit www.notts-fire.gov.uk or call 0115 96708
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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