by nigelbennett on 14 October, 2015
Conservative Suffolk CC are in the process of formulating the report on their proposed cuts to Fire Services across Suffolk to their November Cabinet. A 14 week consultation will then begin till Feb 2016 and a decision in April.
Many firefighters and residents fear there is a threat to Sudbury’s provision that also provides to surrounding villages.
At the Town Council I laid out my concerns which we need to raise:
1. The failure of the alert system. After the recent major fire in Sudbury when retained firefighters in the town did not get their alerts and it took 21 minutes for Sudbury’s engines to respond though Melford got their alerts and arrived first. There is a need to see the investigation report into this.
More importantly, it is evident that there have been problems since April 2013 with the pager alert system.Secondly, since January it is alleged that it has failed 30 times. Thirdly, in the last week or so, new pagers have been issued but incidents continue.
2. Babergh DC need to review flats over shops planning policy. There is good reason to have flats over shops in town centres it helps reduce Anti Social Behaviour, it gives eyes to an area and can provide affordable accommodation. Yet new converted flats may have the latest fire walls but in many timber framed, often listed buildings the shops they are over do not have the same building regulation standards. Surely, a policy change is needed so that risk is reduced and changes to the fire precautions in the shops below are also made before flats are created.
3. Sudbury’s 2nd engine is under genuine threat. In the last round of cuts to the fire service, the loss of the 2nd engine was on the B list. Despite a big response to the previous consultation all proposals on the A list went ahead so it is sensible and logical to believe that there is a real and genuine threat to the 2nd engine in this round of cuts.
4. Sudbury’s 2 engines have different functions. One is a rescue tender specialising in road accidents and hazardous accidents with our factories. The other is more for general fire incidents. Simply, if one is lost what will be the impact and how will it be decided which is removed? What will be the replacement cover? from where?
5. A 1 engine station would have 11 firefighters not 21. This will reduce availability of the engine.
6. The threat will affect our villages too. Many rural retained stations are regularly off line during the working day and only available in the evening or at night. Therefore our engines can often cover village incidents too. Now if only 1 engine remains in Sudbury, the cover in Sudbury or nearby villages will be severely affected and how long will it take for another engine to arrive?
There is a strong case for us to be proactive not reactive to the proposed cuts. It is disappointing that neither the Portfolio Holder or Chief Fire Officer did not attend the Town Council in October though we requested them and offered several alternative dates.
They will be there on Tuesday 10th November to discuss their published proposals by then! Let us hope, after that serious town centre fire which made national news that no one would be foolish to include Sudbury in them. Even if not, there are still many serious questions to ask them about fire cover. Hope to see you there.Leave a comment