THE landscape of firefighting in South Derbyshire looks set to change forever with plans unveiled that will see one station close, one manned just by on-call firefighters and a new site built.
In proposals outlined by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, Melbourne Fire Station would close, Swadlincote Fire Station would alter dramatically beyond recognition and a new station would be built in Hilton.
Bosses announced consultation with the public over the changes, that would begin being put in place from 2022.
Chief fire officer and chief executive Sean Frayne said: “We are committed to ensuring we are ‘fit to respond’ to the many challenges being faced both now and in the future.
“By ensuring the service has the best available resources, located in the most strategic locations throughout the county, I as chief fire officer for Derbyshire, am satisfied that the service can continue to provide an excellent effective service to our communities.”
Swadlincote Fire Station would change to become a retained duty station, which would mean it would be served by 17 on-call firefighters, one fire engine and one service response vehicle.
The plans are part of a proposed major reorganisation of the fire service in a bid to save at least £4.4 million by 2017.
The service also wants to cut 78 firefighter posts – although it has pledged to do this by not replacing staff who leave or retire, rather than making redundancies.
If the plans are approved a total of 19 fire stations across the county would be closed and eight new stations – merging some of the existing services – would be created.
This would take the total number of fire stations down from 31 to 20.
Chairman of the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Authority Roland Hosker said: “It is always difficult to make decisions that are borne out of budget constraints, but as a forward thinking Service, Derbyshire is once again leading the way and showing that it is making sound business decisions which will ensure the service is efficient and effective.”