Fire cuts plan scrapped at three Nottingham stations and 24-hour cover could be reinstated in Ashfield

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Controversial plans to reduce fire cover at three Nottingham fire stations have been scrapped and Ashfield could get its 24-hour fire cover reinstated.

Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will no longer go ahead with plans to implement controversial cuts – the major changes, which would have saved £2m to reduce a budget deficit, would have seen West Bridgford Fire Station have no crew on duty at night, and both London Road and Stockhill stations losing one fire engine each.

And at Ashfield station in Kirkby, Nottinghamshire Fire Authority has agreed to “swiftly work up and implement proposals to address the identified gap”.

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In 2018, the authority decided to take away full-time cover from Ashfield in favour of on call-only cover at night, despite local opposition.

West Bridgford Fire Station.West Bridgford Fire Station.
West Bridgford Fire Station.

The decision to not progress with the cuts was passed unanimously at the latest authority meeting, but there was a warning that front line service cuts could be back on the agenda in a year’s time if the fire service does not get increased funding from the Government.

The Fire Brigades Union questioned why the authority did not postpone the decision on cuts until financial budgets had been announced by the Government.

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Stephen Tucker, of the FBU, said: “Firefighters and members of the public have been put into a position that caused an enormous amount of stress and anxiety. A situation that was completely avoidable.”

Coun Michael Payne, authority chairman, said: “There hasn’t been a single day that’s gone by where I haven’t thought about these decisions. I didn’t come into public services to make cuts.

“I think the public consultation, however much anxiety it created, did draw attention nationally to the pressure on the fire sector nationally and in Nottinghamshire.

“I know it was very difficult, I didn’t want to consult on this, but it would’ve been the wrong thing to wait.”

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Coun Jason Zadrozny, said he and fellow councillors have been fighting the decision against Ashfield fire station losing its whole time cover since 2018.

He said after the meeting: “I am absolutely delighted.

“There have already been fire deaths in Ashfield and a lot of delayed responses to fires. The fire chief has heard very loudly that we want this implemented, so I am very hopeful.

“Of course, it’s not a done deal yet but I am as confident as I can be that within six to eight months we will see a whole time crew back at Ashfield.”

Chief Fire Officer Craig Parkin said after the meeting: “For me, it’s a good result today, we’ve got the £5 precept which was a huge issue, but we are still facing a budget deficit, we are very clear about that.

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“For me to say we won’t be coming back to look at this [cuts] would be completely misleading in my view.”

When asked about the Ashfield fire cover, he said: “Now we know where we are for the next 12 months, we are going to have to take some time to look at that.

“I hope I can bring something back swiftly. I think it’s doable at the moment but as I’ve said to councillors in Ashfield, I can’t give guarantees to it.”