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By Ian Dipple Friday 28 March 2014 Updated: 28/03 12:29
FEARS have been raised Redditch and Studley could be left short of fire cover if plans to downgrade Alcester Fire Station go ahead.
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service announced this week it needs to save £2.4million over four years. Initial proposals include cutting 30 full-time firefighter and five control room jobs through retirement and non-replacement and improving response times so 80 per cent of all incidents are responded to within ten minutes.
But as part of the changes Alcester Fire Station will be downgraded to having just one engine available between 10am and 10pm, when demand is highest. It means outside of those times cover will have to be provided by either Stratford, Bidford, Henley or Redditch.
The move comes less than two years after Studley Fire Station was closed and fire cover in Alcester was upgraded to a 24/7, 365 day a year service to fill in the gap.
There are concerns Warwickshire’s plans will also impact on Redditch which already provides cover to Studley but is set to lose one of its three appliances as a result of £4million worth of cuts by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.
A source told the Standard with West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service also reducing its cross border support it could leave the two remaining engines in Redditch covering an area stretching from Wythall out to Inkberrow and into Alcester, which could leave the borough with no fire cover at times.
“The implications for Redditch are massive now, there’s no way they should be considering cutting an appliance.”
Coun Hazel Wright, who represents Studley on Stratford District Council, said she was also concerned about where fire cover would come.
“We were told cover would come from Redditch from their cross border agreements but how much cover can be provided when they have their own cuts to make?
“They should never have closed Studley, it should have been kept to allow for these sorts of circumstances.”
But Ade Mallaban, transformation project manager for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, said their plans were based on detailed evidence gathering and discussions with neighbouring services. He said in all but the most extreme circumstances a fire engine would reach an incident within ten minutes 80 per cent of the time and a second appliance within 15 minutes in both urban and rural areas.
“In normal business we will hit those standards. We have built in resilience to cope with major incidents, multiple incidents and periods of high activity such as flooding.”
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