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Controversial Royston Fire Station Closure Gets Approval

Tuesday March 27 2012


Fire Engine - Wayne Gilmore Fire Engine - Wayne Gilmore


OBJECTORS say they will continue the fight against Royston Fire Station being scrapped after its closure was confirmed by the Fire Authority yesterday.

The Authority approved the plans to close the station at a special meeting yesterday - its will be shut on December 31 amid swathing budget cuts.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) earmarked Royston for closure under the cuts because it say the part-time firefighter crews at Royston attend relatively few incidents and the area would be well covered by the full-time crews at Cudworth and Barnsley.

But objectors have always protested against the statistics - claiming they were significantly different to those logged by the fire station crew, regarding call-outs, response times and running costs of the station.

They say the figures given are based on years when Royston was a two pump station but, it said, on call outs for 2011 when Royston has been sent out they have been the first pump to attend 72 per cent of the time. Based on 151 callouts in South Yorkshire, Royston have been the first to attend at 107 of these.

It also says there have also been a large number of mobilisation errors where other pumps were sent into the Royston area to attend incidents where Royston would have attended much faster – one such error saw Dearne take over 16 minutes to reach an incident in Royston’s station area when Royston were available to attend.

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney said: “We have carried out extensive research into how we can make the necessary savings whilst having the least impact on the service we provide to people in South Yorkshire.

“It is impossible to take millions of pounds out of a budget without affecting service delivery, but these changes will help us cope with the budget reduction whilst minimising the impact on emergency fire cover.

“We put these proposals out to public consultation, but none of the sixteen alternative proposals we received provided both the necessary level of emergency fire cover with the same level of savings.”

Dan Jarvis, MP, says the fight is not over. He added: "That is not good enough. Well over a hundred people turned out to the public meeting in Royston and made their feelings very clear. This station provides an essential community service in Royston and surrounding areas; to suggest there will be no impact on public safety as a result of losing it is blatantly wrong.

“There are, quite simply, too many unanswered questions; too many factors that the Fire Authority are not taking into consideration and too many risks that are being ignored, when making a decision that has a huge impact on public safety. This is not over and I assure residents that I will continue to work with the Ward Councillors and FBU in fighting for Royston Fire Station and challenging this reckless decision.”

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