Heanor fire station could be spared

Heanor Fire Station could be spared the axe according to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service following a massive public outcry.

The fire service proposed closing 19 stations across the county, including Heanor, Crich and Alfreton, in a bid to save £4.4 million over the next three years.

But, after a 12-week public consultation found 85 per cent of people disagreed with the proposals, the service says it will only close stations as a “last resort”.

Rebecca Broom, who helped organise a campaign to save Heanor Fire Station, said: “We have got to wait and see what they say on Thursday. I think it’s sensible not to close them and it’s fantastic they had such a good response and that the public have been so supportive of the local fire stations.

“I still feel for the firefighters - because they don’t know what is going to happen to their jobs. I commend them for staying positive and focussed and doing their best.

“I am looking forward to seeing what happens. I would hope the chief has listened to the public - it will be interesting to see what his next step will be. Our fingers are very tightly crossed.”

The changes, unveiled by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service at the end of September, proposed closing Heanor, Crich and Alfreton stations and replacing them with a new ‘super station’ in Ripley close to the A38.

The move could also see almost 80 firefighters’ jobs cut as bosses search to plug a 40 per cent reduction in the service’s budget by 2017.

A total of eight new bases would be built to replace the 17 across the county by 2022.

Bosses said the changes would make for a more “efficient” fire service.

A report by Derbyshire Chief fire officer Sean Frayne acknowledged: “The general consensus was against the closure of Heanor station due to response times and the areas of deprivation it covers.

“There was an acceptance that Crich could be closed. There was a split between whether the merged station should be at Alfreton or Ripley.”