16:38 Monday 02 December 2013

Swadlincote has 'too many' fire engines new plans claim


TWO fire engines based in one of the fastest growing districts in the UK is an ‘over provision’ as fire chiefs seek to save more than £800,000 a year.

As a result, South Derbyshire District Council’s housing and community services committee has REJECTED proposals from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) over ‘inaccuracies’ of housing growth.

The service has calculated that just 6,469 homes will be built throughout the area up to 2028 – a figure the district council claims is ‘understated’.

In its Transforming Service Delivery for 2022 and Beyond - Fit to Respond Consultation document, DFRS wants to replace Melbourne fire station with a retained one in Hilton, and Swadlincote’s full time fire engine would be replaced by on-call personnel, which will leave one further retained engine.

DFRS claims incidents in the Swadlincote area are ‘relatively low’ ranging from 483 in 2010/11 to 309 in 2012/13. Furthermore, from 2009 to 2013, calls have reduced by 36 per cent. Of the more serious and larger fires only 17 were deemed a risk to life.

The document goes on to add: “Taking the low and reducing level of incidents in the Swadlincote and nearby areas into consideration, the two fire engines (one being manned full time) are deemed an over provision and are not considered an effective use of the resources that we have available to us.”

The estimated staffing savings associated with the new proposal are £846,000 per year, with additional savings to running costs estimated at £39,000 per year.

There will also be an additional cost in vehicle leasing of £3,000 per year. This provides a total saving of £882,000 per year.

The sale of the existing fire station at Melbourne could raise between £125,000 and £250,000. This would contribute to the estimated cost of £925,000 associated with building a new Hilton fire station.

The fire service also added that housing stock currently provided for fire fighters at Swadlincote who previously worked on the day staffing system could be sold.

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