Wrentham fire station saved from closure - but campaigners still fear Suffolk fire cuts will harm public safety

Lowestoft on call fire fighters campaigned against the proposed cuts to the Fire Service.

Lowestoft on call fire fighters campaigned against the proposed cuts to the Fire Service. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A popular village fire station earmarked for closure is to be saved after a council revised its cuts to fire services along the east coast in the wake of a strong public backlash.

However, campaigners against the reductions say the new proposals do not go far enough - and will leave the county less safe.

Suffolk County Council had proposed removing an on-call fire engine from Lowestoft South fire station and closing nearby Wrentham fire station. It was part of plans to help save £1.3million from its budget, which also included removing fire engines across the county.

However a paper released ahead of Suffolk County Council's cabinet meeting on May 17 - where a final decision will be made - has instead recommended that Wrentham fire station stays open.

But the fire engine there will be replaced with a smaller rapid response unit, with the number of on-call firefighters reduced from 11 to eight. The removal of the on-call fire engine at Lowestoft South will go ahead as planned, but the number of on-call firefighters will be reduced from 21 to 15, as oppose to the original proposal to reduce it to 13.

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Chief fire officer Mark Hardingham said: 'There was an important principle about maintaining a fire station in a rural community. We've found an opportunity to do that at a reduced cost.'

However Roy Humphreys, of the Fire Brigades Union in Suffolk, said the cuts 'will have a disproportionate impact on our ability to keep those who live, work and travel within the county safe'.

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