Chiefs defend plans to shut stations

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FIRE chiefs today defended their decision to close four stations across the county to help save £10 million.

They plan to close Mansfield Road and Darnall fire stations in Sheffield as well as the city’s retained station in Mosborough and another retained base in Royston, Barnsley.

A station will be built near The Parkway and second in Birley.

Members of the public put 16 alternative suggestions forward, but they were all rejected by South Yorkshire Fire Authority members, who gave the go-ahead for the cost- cutting plans on Monday.

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney said: “As professional officers we have carried out extensive research into how we can make the necessary savings whilst having the least impact on the service we provide to people in South Yorkshire.

“It is impossible to take millions of pounds out of a budget without affecting service delivery, but these changes will help us cope with the budget reduction whilst minimising the impact on emergency fire cover.

“We put these proposals out to public consultation, but none of the 16 alternative proposals that we received provided both the necessary level of emergency fire cover with the same level of savings.

“I am confident that the impact on the public of these changes will be minimal.”

Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis spoke of his concern at the plan to leave Royston without a fire station, with the base used by retained firefighters set to close by the end of the year.

“Well over a hundred people turned out to the public meeting in Royston and made their feelings very clear.

“This station provides an essential community service in Royston and surrounding areas.

“To suggest there will be no impact on public safety as a result of losing it is blatantly wrong.”

“This is not over and I assure residents that I will continue to work with the ward councillors and FBU in fighting for Royston fire station and challenging this reckless decision.”