I’ve just received news that confirms what I’d heard in my last meeting with Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling – Rothwell fire station will stay open! Both I and Councillor David Nagle want to say a huge, huge thank you to everyone that worked so hard to help us with the Save Our Station campaign.
The fire authority’s community consultation received more 12,000 responses – of which about 3,000 were from Rothwell. That’s about a quarter of all the responses, which when you consider that there were 10 stations proposed for closure, shows how effective our campaign was and how strongly local people felt about this issue.
The original proposal was to close Rothwell and Garforth fire stations and have just one station at Swillington with just one fire engine between them. The new proposal is that both Rothwell and Garforth remain open and retain their fire engines. A new ‘Day Crew’ staffing system will be implemented at both fire stations.
This is the news release that has just been issued by West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority:
Consultation shapes county’s fire cover plans
Councillors will consider record levels of public feedback on radical proposals to reform fire cover across West Yorkshire.
During a 12-week formal consultation exercise (which concluded on 30 November 2012), West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue officers met with members of the community including district, town and parish councils, MPs and employee representative bodies to discuss the eleven proposals and listen to the views of local people.
This year community engagement attracted 12,037 formal representations, four-times that received during consultation undertaken in 2011 – a „listening exercise with legs‟ enabling concerns to be heard and suggestions presented by the community.
In light of the consultation and following professional analysis, Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling will ask West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority to consider changes to the draft Integrated Risk Management Action Plan 2013-14 at its next meeting on 21 December 2012. If approved, the plan would be implemented between 2013 and 2020.
Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling re-emphasised the reasons for changes to emergency cover: “The success of the brigade‟s fire safety work over the past 10 years means there is undeniable scope for change. Accidental fire deaths and injuries are at an all-time low and some stations are now half as busy as they were a few years ago so I‟m confident we can rationalise and modernise the service whilst still providing effective fire cover.
“We know we have to find cuts of between £8-12m over the next two years – and already have plans in place — but all the messages coming out of central government project further reductions in financial support for local authorities up to 2020,” he explained.
“I believe that these proposals represent changes that will have the least impact on emergency cover for the county, yet contribute significantly to addressing the financial gap the Authority must address.”
The consultation and proposals to changes to emergency cover will be considered by the Fire Authority on 21 December 2012.
You can download a PDF of the full report here.