Consultation on loss of town fire engine begins

The fire in Market Hill, Sudbury, September 6. ANL-151021-113858001
The fire in Market Hill, Sudbury, September 6. ANL-151021-113858001

A public consultation looking at the future provision for Suffolk’s fire and service is now open.

There has so far been an angry backlash to plans to remove Sudbury’s second fire engine and replace it with a rapid response vehicle.

There are concerns over the town and surrounding area’s safety, while the move would also result in some job losses at the station, which is staffed by on call-crew,

The 14-week consultation seeks the views of members of the public, fire and rescue service staff and all other interested parties regarding proposals for changing the way the fire and rescue service is set-up across the county. The consultation closes on Monday, February 22.

Suffolk County Council and the county fire chiefs have said the proposed changes meet the on-going reductions in funding for the fire service and also reflect the significant reduction in 999 call demand over the last five years in Suffolk.

The proposed changed and consultation was agreed by Suffolk County Council’s cabinet.

The draft plan being considered identifies the following proposals:

•Replace the second fire engine at Sudbury with a rapid response fire fighting vehicle.

•Reduce the number of fire engines in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.

•Close Wrentham fire station.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, Matthew Hicks said: “Since the initial announcement of the proposed changes, many people have already shared their opinions on the proposals and we hope that everyone who shows an interest takes the time to respond to this consultation.

“The council recognises the importance of our fire and rescue service and has, over recent years, done everything possible to protect it against reductions in grant funding from the Government.

We have progressed with investment in fire stations, training facilities, fire engines, firefighting clothing and equipment; and we have established a fantastic collaborative approach with Suffolk’s blue light emergency partners, with plans for more in the future.

“I am confident these proposals mean we can continue to deliver an outstanding service to residents of Suffolk.

“They have been developed after taking account of; the risk profile across the county; the number, location and type of fire stations and fire engines; the location of on-call and full-time firefighters; and the 999 call demand and casualty history over recent years - the details of which are all set out in the consultation documents.

“Once the consultation has concluded, the county council’s cabinet will fully consider the response to the proposals at a future Cabinet meeting.”

To give your views on the consultation email fireServiceRedesign@suffolk.gov.uk, call the service redesign team on 01473 260457 or send a letter to Service Redesign Team Manager, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service HQ 8, Russell Rd, Ipswich, IP1 2BX.

Further details on the consultation can be seen at www.suffolk.gov.uk/fireredesign