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28 November 2013, 06:00
Hertfordshire County Council has confirmed that part time fire station in Bushey will close on 31 March 2014.
The closure was confirmed as part of the Integrated Risk Management Plan, which sets out what resources the fire and rescue service needs – and where they need to be – to provide comprehensive cover to the county.
Since the relocation of Watford Fire Station in 2009 the Authority has told Heart it's quicker to send the full time fire engines from Watford to incidents in Bushey than to call in the part time crew to Bushey Fire Station then send them to the incident. This had led to a major reduction in the number of calls Bushey firefighters attend.
Speaking to Heart Richard Thake, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: "I know this won’t be a popular decision locally, and it’s not one we’ve made lightly. It comes on the back of a comprehensive review of what kind of incidents the fire and rescue service is called to, where they are and when they happen.
I am confident that the closure won't affect the safety of residents or businesses in Bushey, who will still be protected by highly-skilled crews from Watford and other nearby stations. The response times and level of cover will remain high and the fire and rescue service will be able to respond to incidents in Bushey quickly and appropriately."
The draft plan – including the proposal to close Bushey Fire Station – was subject to a twelve week public consultation in during July, August and September this year.
A majority of responses to the public consultation were against the proposed closure of Bushey Fire Station, but the fire service believes that the concerns raised have been adequately addressed within the draft plan.
Other measures confirmed in the Integrated Risk Management Plan include:
• A review of the number of senior officers
• A review of accommodation allowances at day crewed stations
• A consultation on when and how the service attends automatic fire alarms
In the period 2012/2013 the crews at Bushey attended 11 emergency calls, five of which were fires. Only one of those fires was actually in the Bushey area. Of the other calls Bushey attended, five were false alarms.
The seven part-time firefighters based at Bushey will be made redundant following the closure. Four of these firefighters also have separate full-time roles with Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue and those roles will be unaffected.