Fire closures would ‘compromise safety’

Scrapping Belper and Duffield fire stations in favour of a new headquarters in Milford would be a “waste of resources” and “compromise safety”, according to Belper MP Pauline Latham.

Under the proposed merger, which is being considered by Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, firefighters would serve the two locations from a base on the A6.

However, in a statement Mrs Latham said there is not a suitable site for such a project available in this area and has has demanded Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service reveal whether they have chosen a site.

If plans were approved by the fire authority, the 25 fire fighters retained or on call firefighters stationed at Duffield and Belper would all have to be made redundant, which would “generate more expense for the Fire Service in the long run” said Mrs Latham.

She added: “I hope that sense prevails in this instance, and that the cuts due to the reduction in available budget to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service are executed with the best interests of the population of Mid-Derbyshire at heart.”

In her submissions to a Derbyshire Fire & Rescue consultationon the matter, Mrs Latham also alludes to the fact that the station in Duffield has only recently been opened, and that it would be a waste of resources to abandon it.

One of the major concerns that Mrs Latham voices in the submission is that the safety of the people of Mid-Derbyshire could be compromised by the changes.

She feels that the reduction in the number of fire engines able to respond to emergencies could see response times rising, and fire fighters being ill-prepared to deal with major incidents.

At the beginning of December, the Belper News revealed planning rules could scupper a Derbyshire Fire and Rescue. the new fire station bid.

Belper town councillors voiced ‘grave reservations’ about the planned closures, with former Amber Valley planning committee chairman Cllr Alan Cox revealing that the Duffield site could not be used for anything other than a fire station.

Members of the fire authority will review the consultation in February 2014 and will also consider raising the precept which could deliver around £700k in additional income to offset the deficit.

People can respond to the consultation by logging on to /have-your-say and completing an online survey. Paper copies should be returned no later than Monday, December 23.