Felixstowe: Resort reels from plans to axe day fire crew

RESIDENTS in a Suffolk town are fighting back against plans to slash fire cover in a bid to save money.

Suffolk County Council has outlined proposals to change Felixstowe’s fire station from a day-crewed station to one manned only by on-call firefighters, a move which they say will save �210,000 per year.

Council bosses admitted it would increase response times to the resort, as engines are forced to battle their way through 12 miles of traffic from Ipswich’s Colchester Road station, but deemed the risk “acceptable”.

This is part of a raft of council measures to save an estimated �43million across the region as part of budget cuts imposed by Whitehall.

But community leaders have come out against the proposed changes, saying it will leave the people of Felixstowe at greater risk in case of emergency.

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Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey said: “We are on the end of a peninsula so officially it’s a 15-minute drive, but actually we all know it can take longer even if you have got flashing blue lights.

“Felixstowe is a big town and it’s a growing one - we are putting more houses in - so I think it’s very wrong.

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“I will be supporting the people of Felixstowe in trying to keep the fire station as it is.”

Felixstowe county councillors Nick Barber and John Goodwin are meeting with Suffolk fire chief Andy Fry today to express their opposition to the cuts, and look at how to stop the changes from happening.

The Fire Brigade Union has also voiced its opposition to the proposals - which would see 14 firefighter posts cut - and have promised to put pressure on the council to reverse the plans.

Suffolk branch chairman Andy Vingoe said: “We’re appalled by it. The people of Felixstowe are going to have a much-reduced service and a lot of local knowledge is going to be lost.

“The time it takes a fire engine to get to them could be increased substantially.

“We will definitely be campaigning against it.”

Other measures put forward at the council cabinet meeting on Wednesday include moving the county’s fire control room to Cambridgeshire, changing the way the Ipswich turntable ladder is manned, and not attending every automatic fire alarm where they can judge there is no safety risk.

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