A campaign has been launched in a bid to stop plans to close Belper and Duffield fire stations.
Under proposals unveiled by Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service the two stations would be replaced with a single one in Milford. Staff numbers would be reduced from 25 to 17.
The two existing fire engines would be replaced by one machine and a much smaller response vehicle.
Campaigners claim the proposals would mean an increase in average response time and are urging people to sign an online petition and write to Belper’s MP Pauline Latham. A Facebook campaign - Save Belper and Duffield Fire Stations - has so far attracted more than 300 members.
Duffield resident Jez Swan, campaign leader, said: “Derbyshire Fire & Rescue are proposing to shut down the fire stations in Belper and Duffield due to budget cuts and replace them with a single station in Milford.
“These closures would result in job losses and reduced fire protection for Belper, Duffield and the surrounding villages,” he claimed.
“We recognise Derbyshire Fire & Rescue’s need to make efficiency savings, but we would urge them instead to consider making other changes that would allow our stations to remain open.”
Following approval from Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Authority (DFRA) in September this year, a consultation with stakeholders on proposals to transform its service delivery for 2022 and beyond commenced.
Consultation events will be at venues throughout the county. However, a date for Belper has not yet been announced.
The fire service is already dealing with a reduction in cash from the Government of £4.8m from 2011/12 to 2014/15 and faces a potential deficit of up to £5.1 million by 2016/17.
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 http://www.derbys-fire.gov.uk/have-your-say/transforming-service- delivery-for-2022-and-beyond-fit-to-respond-consultation and completing the online survey.
Anyone wishing to fill in a paper copy of the consultation is being asked to print a copy of the survey online and return the form to the fire authority no later than Monday, December 23.
To follow the campaign to save the fire stations you should search for @SaveFireStation on Twitter, or join the Facebook page page by searching for Save Belper and Duffield Fire Stations, where you can also find links to an online petition and download posters.