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Town to get two new fire stations - but firefighters to be cut
12:32pm Monday 24th September 2012 in News
TWO new fire stations could be built at the expense of fewer firefighters, as Cheshire Fire and Rescue service tries to save £5 million over the next four years.
The brigade announced sweeping changes to their future operations on Friday, while launching a four-month consultation into the wide-ranging proposals.
Five new stations will be opened, two new-build and permanently staffed at Lymm and Penketh.
New stations will take engines from the brigade’s current stock - 32 large engines and seven rapid response vehicles.
Warrington will lose one fire engine to Penketh.
The service also signed off the closure of the Winsford HQ’s emergency call handlers.
Twnety five staff at the Sadler Road facility will have to reapply for jobs at the force’s new centre in Lingley Mere, Warrington – a move that the Fire Brigade Union said would ‘endanger lives’.
At a press conference on Friday, chief fire officer Paul Hancock, said the proposals were made possible due to a 40 per cent reduction in emergency callouts.
He said: “This plan will improve response times, will increase the number of fire stations for the county of Cheshire, but also it means fewer firefighters.”
Mr Hancock said the cuts came amid ‘uncertainty’ over council tax rises and Government funding. He added that cost of the new build stations would exceed the £5 million the force hopes to save in the short term.
Mr Hancock said he hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies.
The three month consultation begins today, Monday. It will last until December 17. The service will sign off the plans on February 13.