Lib Dems Call for Proper Scrutiny of Fire Station Closures
Papers released for next week's meeting of the Leicester and Leicestershire Combined Fire Authority includes a number of significant budget saving proposals, including removal of a number of wholetime crewed fire engines and the closures of Central and Kibworth fire station.
The Liberal Democrats are concerned that these decisions are being made without proper scrutiny, as the FA's scrutiny committee was abolished when standing orders were suspended at the May meeting.
Cllr Michael Charlesworth said: "We were shocked when Labour and Tory councillors voted together to remove the Fire Authority's scrutiny process. Any public body making decisions needs proper scrutiny to catch potential problems and prevent bad decisions being made."
The fact that these decisions are so significant makes it more important than ever that the Authority's scrutiny process is restored."
The proposals, expected to involve a loss of nearly 90 jobs, are to:
- Remove one of the two wholetime crewed fire engines from Loughborough fire station.
- Close Central fire station and sell the building.
- Establish Market Harborough as a single fire engine wholetime crewed fire station.
- Revise existing plans to introduce the Day Crewing Plus duty system at Wigston fire station by establishing a two wholetime crewed fire engine station.
- As a consequence of establishing the revised crewing arrangements at Wigston and Market Harborough, close Kibworth fire station and sell the building.
- Establish Lutterworth as a wholetime crewed single fire engine fire station. Wholetime fire engine to be crewed between 0700 hours and 1900 hours Monday to Friday. On-call cover will be maintained outside of these hours.
- Replace the on-call fire engines at Melton and Coalville fire stations with Tactical Response Vehicles.
- Replace the fire engine at Billesdon fire station with a Tactical Response Vehicle.
- Remove the on-call fire engine from Hinckley fire station.
Cllr Michael Wyatt said: "We understand that the Fire Authority is facing huge budget reductions and that difficult decisions will need to be made, but without scrutiny there's a danger of putting in flawed measures that cause more problems than they solve.
Failure to fully ensure that Leicester and Leicestershire's fire service has the capacity to safely deal with all emergency situations that can arise would be taking a massive risk on the health and safety of residents."