Fire cover fears after cuts plans revealed

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Frontline fire services in Notts will see a big shake up over the next three years.

Money saving measures could mean firefighters lose their jobs, engines are axed and stations are closed.

Under proposals put out to public consultation by Notts and City of Nottingham Fire Authority, cover in Retford will be slashed by half to just 12 hours a day.

A wholetime fire engine currently serves Retford and surrounding area 24 hours.

This crew will move to Worksop, with Retford supported by a volunteer, or retained crew and neighbouring stations.

Edwinstowe residents are celebrating to the news that their fire station has been saved from closure.

The retained crew will be upgraded to a wholetime station.

Job prospects look worrying for frontline staff across the county as the authority looks to axe 16 senior officers, 20 watch managers and any number of firefighters.

Notts fire authority must save £6.5 million over the next four years after a cut in Government funding.

Consultation with staff, partner organisations and the public will begin by the end of July and will last no longer than 12 weeks.

The results will be reported back to the Fire Authority before any changes are implemented.

Notts Fire Brigade Union vice-chairman Bob Mould said he thought the changes at Retford were being pushed through without any thought of other options.

“It appears frontline services are being hit hardest without looking at other options,” he said.

“My fears are for the public who may not get the proper fire service they deserve.”

Coun Sybil Fielding a fire authority member said decisions would be difficult and regrettable.

“We have got to put resources where they are most needed, which is what these proposals aim to do,” said Coun Fielding.

“But I believe frontline services could have been protected by a small increase in the fire authority precept.”

“Liberal democrat and conservative fire authority members voted against increasing council tax.”

“I for one would like to have seen a public consultation on a modest rise to protect jobs and the community,” Coun Fielding added.