FIRE service union chiefs are to tour South Derbyshire in a bid to convince the public that planned changes to set to affect stations in the district should be rejected.
Proposals announced by the county’s fire and rescue service have been met with outrage by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) which insists could put the public in danger.
The plans could see Melbourne Fire Station closed and Swadlincote Fire Station staffed only by on-call firefighters, as the service attempts to save more than £4 million over the next three years.
In addition to the planned cuts in South Derbyshire, Moira Fire Station will also close next year.
A consultation on the plans has been launched, with members of the FBU ready to tell the public why they shouldn’t be backed.
The union has already made contact with several parish councils across the district as it seeks avenues to access the public.
Chris Tapp, secretary for the union’s Derbyshire branch, said: “Members of the FBU have made contact with people including parish councils to put across to people why they should oppose these plans.
“There are proposals to downgrade the station in Swadlincote and close the station in Melbourne.
“We believe response times in South Derbyshire will fall greatly and that risk is going to be increased.”
Mr Tapp said he was confident most people were against the plan.
He added: “Generally speaking, the public in Derbyshire oppose these plans. They don’t want to see a worse fire service being delivered.”
Members of Repton Parish Council said they were uneasy about being dragged into a political argument, suggesting they wouldn’t allow union members to attend a future meeting.
But there was support for the union’s case from members of the council.
Barbara McArdle said: “If you have had that experience of waiting for them to come, that’s when it matters. Now they are going to be coming from further away.
“I’m not just speaking for me, I’m speaking for everyone in Repton.”
More information on the consultation is available by visiting www.derbys-fire.gov.uk or emailing DFRSconsultation@derbys-fire.gov.uk