VIDEO: Belper fire station could be closed as part of cost-cutting measures

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Almost 80 firefighters could be axed and scores of stations closed in Derbyshire as part of a major reorganisation.

The controversial cost-cutting plans would see 78 firefighters lose their jobs and the axe fall on 19 stations – but the creation of eight new bases – across the county by 2022.

Proposals include shutting Belper and Duffield fire stations and building a new one at Milford.

Bosses say the changes would make for a more “efficient” fire service. However, the Fire Brigades’ Union says it is “deeply concerned” about the proposals and voiced fears over slower response times.

The plans will go out to public consultation tomorrow.

Sean Frayne, chief fire officer at the organisation, which must reduce its funding by 40 per cent by 2017, said: “We are committed to ensuring we are fit to respond to the many challenges being faced both now and in the future.

“By ensuring we have the best available resources, located in the most strategic locations throughout the county, I am satisfied we can continue to provide an excellent, effective service to our communities.”

Cllr Roland Hosker, chair of Derbyshire fire service, said: “It is always difficult to make decisions borne out of budget constraints, but Derbyshire is leading the way and showing that it is making sound business decisions which will ensure the fire service is efficient, effective and robust.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved with the consultation process and let us know their views and comments on the proposals.”

Chris Tapp, secretary for the Fire Brigades’ Union in Derbyshire, said: “We are deeply concerned about these proposed changes.

“We think there will be slower response times as a result of them and I know the community in Derbyshire does not want this.”

For more details about the plans – including which stations are under threat - and to get involved in the consultation, log on to www.derbys-fire.gov.uk tomorrow.