Calls for re-think over fire service changes in Malvern - The Malvern Observer

Calls for re-think over fire service changes in Malvern

Malvern Editorial 7th Jun, 2017 Updated: 7th Jun, 2017   0

THE LEADER of the Democratic Group is calling on the fire authority to stop plans to reduce the number of full-time firefighters in Malvern.

Sarah Rouse has urged Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) to have a major re-think over its proposals to cut the full-time staff at the Worcester Road fire station from 12 to seven.

HWFRS is also looking to fill 16 part-time positions to cover weekends at the station while 18 retained firefighters will provide an on-call service every evening.

Whole-time firefighters, who provide specialist rope and water rescue, will not continue to provide an on-call service.

Fire cover is also to change from 8am to 6pm to 8.40am to 6pm.

But with 800 new homes being built in Newland, 80 in Leigh Sinton and 100 on Lower Howsell Road, Coun Rouse says now is not the time to be cutting the town’s full-time firefighters with an influx in new residents on the horizon.

HWFRS needs to save £1.6million by 2020 and the proposed changes for Malvern have been put forward as part of that process.

“While all the rumpus about the tourist information centre has been going on, changes to the fire service cover we have in Malvern seems to be going un-noticed,” said the councillor, who represents Alfrick and Leigh on Malvern Hills District Council.

“Malvern is growing rapidly and now is not the time to divert our full-time firefighters to other towns, some of which are smaller than ours.

“I believe there are savings to be made elsewhere.

“Having not recruited any full-time firefighters for years we are 70 staff down across the county so why do we still have the same number of senior managers?

“We need to keep Malvern safe, we need to keep 24/7 guaranteed full-time crews at Malvern Fire Station and the [HWRFS] management needs to find other ways to make the cuts they do not need until 2020.”

Nick Browning, watch commander at Malvern Fire Station, has had 40 years’ worth of experience of dealing with incidents in the town.

He told Malvern Town Council at its annual meeting at the end of last month the cuts across Worcestershire and Herefordshire were disproportionate.

The 24 staff members each at Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Kidderminster and Redditch is to increase to 27 under HWFRS’ revamp.

He added the savings being made in Malvern to improve those services would be a huge hit to the area.

The town council voted 11-3 against the cuts and agreed to lobby an appeal to HWFRS chief fire officer Nathan Travis.

A HWFRS spokesperson said in response: “These stations are currently crewed between 8am to 6pm by whole-time firefighters.

“Out of these hours, our skilled on-call firefighters already respond to any incidents.

“The new system would mean that our on-call firefighters would respond for an extra 40 minutes.

“Our on-call firefighters are trained to a very high standard and are able to respond to any kind of emergency situation.”

The spokesperson added there would still be two fire engines at Malvern Fire Station which would be manned by a crew of five under the proposals and not four under the current system.

What do you think about HWFRS’ proposals for Malvern Fire Station? Email your views to [email protected] or write to us at the address on the letters page.


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