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Bewdley Fire Station facing closure
6:00am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
BEWDLEY Fire Station could be shut under plans by fire chiefs to save cash.
The closure of the Dog Lane facility is one of a number of options being drawn up by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service to address an annual budget shortfall which rises to £4.7 million within three years.
The fire authority is set to receive a draft Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) which sets out how the service intends to make some of the required savings from frontline operational response while at the same time having the least impact on the communities in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Bosses will meet on Thursday, October 3, and if approval is given a 12-week formal consultation with the public, representative bodies and fire service staff will start.
Mark Yates, chief fire officer, said: “In consultation with the authority’s treasurer it is my responsibility to present options to the fire authority to address the significant budget shortfalls we anticipate having to face.
"Over the past three years we have made significant savings from our management structures, procurement and back-office functions, which have resulted in slimmed down departments and compulsory redundancies.
"We will continue to examine these areas and anticipate further savings of approximately £2m from non- frontline services.
“But to address overall savings of £4.7m we now have to look at our frontline. As part of this plan we have looked at all risks in the two counties and mapped out the number of calls each station has responded to over the previous five years. We have analysed this data very carefully and considered whether we could make changes to our operational response in order to assist making the savings needed.
“It appears to be inevitable that over the coming years we will have fewer fire engines and firefighters but we believe the proposals contained in the CRMP will have the least impact on the communities of our two counties and the safety of our firefighters.
“I accept that no-one, including myself, would wish to reduce the amount of fire engines available to respond to our communities but with the significant size of budget gap being faced, I believe the FRA may now have no choice.”
The CRMP goes on to examine ways in which it could make significant financial savings in order to meet its budget gap.
It sets out proposals for removing fire engines from stations aimed at minimising the impact on the Service and local communities.
Mr Yates added: “Our priority after October 3 is to seek feedback from local communities and our staff. We know these are difficult decisions which we have to face and it will be a difficult time for our staff who provide a dedicated service at those stations most affected”.
“Residents and business owners within Herefordshire and Worcestershire should be assured that we have painstakingly analysed five years of response data and are confident that we can still provide a good level of emergency response across the two counties.
"However, I would urge people to read our Plan fully so that they understand the background and implications of the proposed changes.”
At the end of the consultation period, an analysis of the results will be brought back to the fire authority at its meeting on February 19, 2014, for consideration. It is at this meeting when it is anticipated that final decisions will be made.
If approval is given, the CRMP will be formally published and an implementation plan will be prepared.
The options are:
This proposal is to remove one of the two wholetime crewed fire engines from each of Hereford and Worcester fire stations, and one of the two on-call fire engines from Redditch fire station. If this proposal is implemented, these three fire stations will then be crewed in exactly the same manner and have the same number of fire engines available.
This proposal requires the removal of one of the two on-call fire engines from each of Bromyard, Ledbury and Tenbury Wells fire stations.
This proposal removes four fire engines, one from each of four clusters:
- North Worcestershire – we consider that the least impact can be achieved by closing Bewdley fire station, rather than removing one of the two fire engines from Kidderminster.
- South Worcestershire – we consider that the least impact can be achieved by closing Broadway fire station, rather than removing one of the two fire engines from Evesham.
- North Herefordshire – a choice needs to be made between either removing one of the two on-call fire engines from Leominster fire station or closing Kingsland fire station.
- South Herefordshire – a choice needs to be made between either removing one of the two on-call fire engines from Ross-on-Wye fire station or closing Whitchurch fire station.
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