A HUMAN chain was formed around Bewdley Fire Station in protest against its proposed closure.

The station in Dog Lane is set to close later this year when Wyre Forest's fire crews are centralised at a new £7.6 million emergency services hub in Kidderminster.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says evidence used in 2015 to support Hereford and Worcester Fire Service's plans is now "out of date", and could put lives at risk.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the fire station on Wednesday night to form a human chain and send a message to the fire service that Bewdley's residents will back the campaign to keep their station open.

Stephen Brown, of Wyre Forest Labour, said: "There's a lot of support from the local community.

"What we've seen over the last few weeks both in our petition and in our street stalls in Bewdley high street is lots of support.

"We've already got over 2,000 signatures. People are really passionate about saving the fire station and protecting their local public services."

Neil Bevan, from the Fire Brigade Union, added: "Since the decision was made to close Bewdley Fire Station five years ago, the amount of fire calls that these firefighters attend has actually gone up by about 52 per cent.

"We have also doubled our attendance time compared to our neighbouring brigades such as Shropshire and West Midlands.

"We have a 10-minute attendance time and we only make that on 54 per cent of the time, so by moving the appliance to Kidderminster and extending that by another two and a half minutes, that is going to be massively detrimental to the local community."

A packed public meeting was held at St George's Hall after the protest, where a motion was agreed to call on Hereford and Worcester Fire Service to halt the closure of Bewdley Station and carry out a new risk assessment on its closure plans.

A fire service spokesman said the new hub will continue to provide effective fire cover in a "more sustainable and cost-effective way than at present", and maintained there will be no reduction in the number of engines.

They added: "Retained staff at Bewdley were assured at the outset that there would be no redundancies as a result of moving to the Wyre Forest Hub.

“Some staff may be asked to carry out other roles and this is all part of an on-going consultation process.”