Plans to close stations could cost lives - claim

danCL''MP Dan Jarvis meets firefighters to discuss possible closure of station
danCL''MP Dan Jarvis meets firefighters to discuss possible closure of station
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AN MP met firefighters and councillors to discuss fears that lives will be lost if a fire station in Barnsley closes.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis visited Royston Fire Station with councillors Tim Cheetham, Graham Kyte and Tracey Cheetham to discuss proposals to close stations and axe retained firefighters in South Yorkshire to save cash.

Fire chiefs want to close Darnall, Mansfield Road and Mosborough fire stations in Sheffield and Royston in Barnsley to help save £10 million over four years.

They would build a new station on or near Sheffield Parkway and another at Birley, but Edlington fire station in Doncaster would lose its part-time crew under the proposals and three roving fire engines, which provide cover when crews are training, would be taken out of service.

The proposals, on which the public are being asked to comment, have been drawn after the Government announced South Yorkshire’s fire service budget is to be cut by £10m.

Firefighters told politicians that figures released to justify closure of Royston station were old and did not reflect how busy the station is. They claim it is the third busiest in Barnsley.

Royston watch manager Dave Wood said: “There is a reason we have the blue lights and sirens - everyone knows that every minute counts when getting to a fire. Those minutes mean lives.”

Coun Cheetham, said: “Losing Royston will increase attendance times significantly and this will endanger lives.”

Mr Jarvis said “I urge the Fire Authority to exercise caution, listen to the firefighters and engage with the public. This is an issue that affects everyone living in and around Royston.”

A South Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman said: “We don’t want to make changes to frontline services but, faced with a cut of £10mn from a £60m, budget, we have no option. The changes being proposed are those which we believe will have the minimum impact on the public.”