By Ian Dipple 13/06 Updated: 15/06 10:47
THE CLOSURE of Studley Fire Station is set to be brought forward by six months.
Warwickshire county councillors were expected to approve the move at a meeting on Thursday (June 14) which will see the Bell Lane station close on October 1 instead of at the end of March 2013 as originally planned. Alcester Fire Station will also be upgraded from a retained to full-time crewing at the same time.
Although the move will cost close to £88,000 in funding for additional full-time firefighters at Alcester and redudnancy payments for retained firefighters at Studley, it will save more than £92,500 including over £7,000 in running costs.
The decision has angered villagers who fought the original decision to close the station two years ago as part of the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Improvement Plan.
Coun Hazel Wright, who represents Studley on Stratford District Council, told the Standard: "What concerns me is how many full-time people will they need down in Alcester and how far have they got in the recruitment and training of these people and will they be available by October 1?
"Also what statistics will they release to reassure residents they are getting the more efficient service they claim they will get. It's only going to save £4,631. It seems such indecent haste for such little money."
Deputy chief fire officer Gary Phillips said the timetable change was necessary as building work at Alcester had been completed and they were struggling to staff the station.
In a report to councillors he said bringing forward full-time crewing at Alcester would lead to a faster guaranteed response to the town and the surrounding area, allow more time for firefighter training, add more full-time firefighters in the area to help train retained crews and allow retained staff at Alcester and Studley to move to full-time.
"As there are currently difficulties in maintaining RDS cover in the area, supplementary crewing is being increasingly used which is applying pressure to existing resources," he said.
*PLANS to cut one of three fire engines based at Redditch Fire Station appear to have been ditched after a u-turn by fire chiefs.
The change was proposed in the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service's Integrated Risk Management Plan but it has been decided the money the move would save would not justify the cut.
"While Redditch in isolation may not have need for three appliances, when balanced against the wider resilience and overall number of appliances across the service it made sense to keep it," a spokeswoman said.
The decision is expected to be approved at a meeting on Wednesday (June 20).
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