THE consultation about the proposed closure of Royston Fire Station ends today - amid arguments about the statistics released to support the closure.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) has had its budgets cut by £10 million per year and – although it plans to cut management and administration costs by a quarter – it says more drastic action is needed to save the cash.
Royston is one of three stations earmarked for closure under the cuts because SYFR 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But Dan Jarvis, MP, has demanded answers - asking for an explanation about why out-of-date figures were released to justify it which, he says, were significantly different to those logged by the fire station crew, regarding call-outs, response times and running costs of the station.
Dan joined a meeting of Barnsley councillors on a Scrutiny Commission which asked for the fire station to stay open for at least another year, while accurate figures were agreed.
He added: "This is not just a Royston issue, it affects residents in neighbouring areas too, such as Carlton, Mapplewell, Staincross, Darton and Monk Bretton. I urge everyone to contact the Fire Authority’s public consultation and fight to keep Royston Fire Station open.”
The crews at Royston Fire Station sent an email to We Are Barnsley with all their call-out data on it - it said Cudworth is already the second busiest one pump station in South Yorkshire and closing Royston station will put extra strain on an already stretched resource.
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.
The crews say that, since January 20122, the amount of calls received by Royston is up by 343 per cent.
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* To see the original WAB debate when the closure was announced, go here. *