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11 February 2013, 15:07
Plans to close Swaffham Bulbeck Fire Station have been approved by the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority.
Members of the Authority today (Monday) approved the proposals, which also include the nearby fire station at Burwell.
In their place, a new fire station and training centre will be constructed in Burwell.
The closure of Swaffham Bulbeck Fire Station came despite protests from the Fire Brigades Union, which said "Swaffham Bulbeck fire station provides cover in a rural, isolated area and the public in that area rely on the station to protect them in case of emergency.
By shutting the station, response times in the area will increase which will mean that those who need the fire service will have to wait longer."
At this afternoon's Fire Authority meeting, it was also agreed that a permanent Operational Risk and Response Team (ORRT) will be established.
According to the Fire Service, this is 'to provide additional operational support for large scale, protracted incidents or spate conditions, and to provide support to on- call fire stations to keep them responding to 999 calls.'
Six new rescue pumps containing the latest road traffic collision hydraulic equipment are being put into the Service and as a result, the fire service says way the rescue vehicle in Huntingdon is crewed will change to improve the availability of on- call stations.
The rescue vehicle will still be available 24/7, it will just be crewed differently.
Finally, Fire Authority members also agreed a rise in the service's portion of council tax.
This rise will add an extra £4.95 on the average band D property's annual bill.
Chris Strickland, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for CFRS, said: "These proposals are about improving our ability to deliver a service and are not about cuts. We're not looking to save any money by implementing these changes.
Instead we're ensuring that the Service is providing the best service possible to taxpayers.
There will be no loss of jobs, no reduction in the number of wholetime staff, and the ability to crew front line fire appliances will ultimately be improved now our proposals have been approved.
Ultimately, the Service Improvement Project focuses on shifting resources from under utilised areas to those areas which could make a difference of operational services."