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Firefighters speak out on Sudbury cuts

Sudbury's protest against the loss of the town's second fire engine. ANL-151027-135656009
Sudbury's protest against the loss of the town's second fire engine. ANL-151027-135656009

Firefighters are not opposed to a new rapid response vehicle at Sudbury station, if it is in addition to the station’s two appliances.

Crew members have submitted their official five-page response to the proposed cuts by Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, which includes plans to replace the town’s second engine with an unspecified rapid response vehicle.

The lack of detail on what type of vehicle would be brought in, what equipment it would carry and how many jobs would be lost is a key cause for concern for those opposed to the cuts.

In their official response crew members wrote: “We feel this proposal has no information with regards to what vehicle would be situated in Sudbury.

“It feels like it is just a cost saving exercise, without a definite proposal. We are open to having a look into rapid response vehicles and feel there may be a place for them across the county, even in Sudbury.

“We do however feel that in Sudbury this should be in addition to the two busy and fully utilised appliances we currently have, not as a replacement.

“This branch cannot endorse any reduction in the number of skilled firefighters at Sudbury or the removal of a front line appliance or the rescue vehicle we have.”

The station was refurbished in 2011 and designed with three fire appliance bays at a cost of £1.3 million. The total running costs of the station are £575,548.

In the response firefighters said the £321,387 annual repayment for the station was “outrageous”, representing poor value for money if it was to house just one fire engine.

“To try to save six per cent [£35,000] of the running costs of the station by removing skilled personnel and a fire appliance that is seeing its calls increase against the national backdrop of decreasing calls simply does not add up.

“We strongly urge Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to take this response and the feedback of the local public seriously and make the correct and operational sensible decision.”

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