Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards has expressed concern over plans to remove overnight cover from West Bridgford Fire Station.
The station in is currently staffed by firefighters 24 hours a day but this will be reduced if proposals put forward by Labour controlled Nottinghamshire Fire Authority are approved.
Ruth recently visited the fire station on Loughborough Road with County Councillor Jonathan Wheeler and met with firefighters to discuss the proposals.
These plans would increase average response times to parts of Rushcliffe by 43 seconds and have been widely criticised by elected councillors and others.
So far, the Labour-run Fire Authority has refused to change course.
After her visit, Ruth asked Nottinghamshire’s Chief Fire officer Craig Parkin to explain how this decision had been reached. Particularly when other stations in Nottinghamshire, whose night shifts are not under threat have lower call out rates than West Bridgford.
Reductions in settlement agreements from central government do not explain this as some authorities have managed to increase their firefighter presence since 2015.
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Figures show a stark contrast between Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Services and those in Derbyshire.
Both authorities have seen similar cuts to their real terms spending power of 6.7% and 6.6% respectively. However, Nottinghamshire has lost 21% of its full-time firefighters, while Derbyshire have increased theirs by 2%.
During a meeting earlier this month with Chief Parkin and the Labour controlled Fire Authority, the body who ultimately will decide for or against these measures, it was made clear to Ruth and other Nottinghamshire MPs that the changes to West Bridgford are for operational reasons rather than in response to budget requirements.
This means that it is the choice of the Fire Authority to reduce provision in West Bridgford.
Ruth immediately arranged a meeting with the Minister for Police and Fire Services to discuss the situation. She will also take forward a proposal ask for an increase in precept funding which would help Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Services save £1.5 million.
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“I am concerned about what these plans mean for the south of the county and I want to explore every option to keep night time cover in West Bridgford. I know the team there and cannot speak highly enough of them.
“I have written to the fire minister and will meet with them soon to discuss this but in the meantime I encourage residents to take part in the public consultation to let their feelings be heard”.
Jonathan Wheeler, the Conservative Lead on the Fire Authority said
“The local Labour Party are trying to mislead local people by claiming this is all to do with budget cuts. The closure of West Bridgford Fire Station at night will ‘save’ £660,000.
‘This is going straight to reopen Ashfield Fire Station so there is no saving.
‘I call on the local Labour councillors to convince their colleagues on the Fire Authority to save West Bridgford Fire Station and stop this political move to get Ashfield open full time to appease their coalition partners.”
The plans are currently out for public consultation and residents can have their say here.