We have got to fight to retain Bewdley fire station, says ex-firefighter (From Kidderminster Shuttle)
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We have got to fight to retain Bewdley fire station, says ex-firefighter
A FORMER Bewdley firefighter says it is essential the town keeps its fire station after it was revealed the facility could be closed under plans to save almost £5 million.
The closure of the Dog Lane base is one of a number of options being drawn up by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service as it looks to save £4.7 million in three years.
Bosses are looking at closing the town’s station, along with three others in the two counties, rather than removing one of the two fire engines from Kidderminster.
Labour town councillor Paul Gittins, who was sub officer of Bewdley Fire Station for 25 years, said it was yet another blow for the town.
“Obviously I think we should keep the fire station in Bewdley, “ he added. “If it closed it would mean that the fire engine would have to come from elsewhere.
“I think it’s pretty essential that we have one close by – every second counts in a fire.”
Conservative John Campion, Worcestershire county councillor for Bewdley, said he wanted to ensure the town received good fire coverage, adding he would be working with the fire service to understand its plans.
“The fire station in Bewdley is at the heart of the town with strong emotional links to the town’s residents,” he added.
The fire authority is set to meet next Thursday to discuss the proposals and, if approved, a 12-week consultation will start.
Mark Yates, Chief Fire Officer, explained the authority had made significant savings over the last three years but it now had to look at its frontline.
He said: “It appears to be inevitable that over the coming years we will have fewer fire engines and firefighters but we believe the proposals... will have the least impact on the communities of our two counties and the safety of our firefighters.”
Steven Gould, of the Fire Brigade Union, said he feared the proposals could put lives at risk, however.
“Bewdley is right on the river so if there’s no station there people would be waiting for someone to come from other stations,” he explained. “It’s a community focal point and it was put there for a reason.”
He added: “To take more away from Herefordshire and Worcestershire is going to make it less safe.”
A decision is expected to be made at the fire service’s meeting on February 19, 2014.
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