Firefighters slam village fire station closure
Firefighters have criticised a decision to close Swaffham Bulbeck Fire Station and merge it with a new facility in Burwell.
Members of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) protested outside the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority headquarters in Huntingdon on Monday, where the plans were approved.
Cameron Matthews, Cambridgeshire FBU secretary, said the move was a “step too far” that would “seriously affect emergency cover in Cambridgeshire”.
But Chris Strickland, deputy chief fire officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the plans would see no job losses and an improvement to services.
The decision means the six firefighters currently based in the village will be moved to a new state-of-the-art fire station and training facility in Reach Road, Burwell.
Mr Matthews said: “Swaffham Bullbeck Fire Station provides cover in a rural, isolated area and the public in that area rely on the station to protect them in case of emergency.
“By shutting the station, response times in the area will increase, which will mean that those who need the fire service will have to wait longer.”
The fire service said the station was in a “very poor state of repair” and it was “not feasible to bring the station fully up to modern day standards”.
Mr Strickland added: “We’re not looking to save any money by implementing these changes.
“Instead, we’re ensuring that the service is providing the best service possible to taxpayers.”
The fire authority also agreed a rise in its council tax precept – the equivalent of £4.95 a year for a band D property or 9.6p per week.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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