A new fire station between Chester and Ellesmere Port will take resources away from the population, it has been claimed.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service announced their plans to look into a site in Mollington as part of their reconfiguration of the way the service is run to try to save £8 million from the budget.
To do this the Cheshire Fire Authority recently approved a £13.78 million capital project programme to build four new fire stations in Alsager, Lymm, Penketh and Mollington, on land off Powey Lane near the M56 motorway, to change their emergency response.
The new fire station would be close to the M56, meaning that it would give Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service vital links to Ellesmere Port and Chester.
It would house a traditional fire engine as well as more specialised equipment which would be able to deal with localised issues such as Chester’s heritage sites and industrial complexes.
Graeme Worral, consultation and engagement officer for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The Mollington station will be able to provide increased response times and if you look at Ellesmere Port there are lots of industrial sites and Chester has a lot of heritage sites.
“We planned on putting it close to the motorway so some of our specialist appliances that are used for the more unusual cases. It’s the specialist equipment that won’t be used every day but might be used once a month.”
The Fire and Rescue Service considered numerous sites for the new station but found that some were either not available in the time scale they wanted or were not large enough to fit a fire station.
Mr Worral added: “It’s a good location that is equidistant between Chester and Ellesmere Port. It’s a Green Belt location but it’s going to be a fire station and hopefully this meets the required conditions.”
However, members of the Cheshire Fire Brigade’s Union have raised concerns about the plans. Dave Williams, Cheshire secretary of the Fire Brigade Union said the plans would take one fire engine away from Chester and one from Ellesmere Port.
He said: “It is spreading the fire cover a little thinner because it’s a fire engine out of Chester and one out of Ellesmere Port and putting them in between.
“There are some pluses because of access to the motorway but the impact in Chester and Ellesmere Port is that it is taking resources away from the population.
“On the face of it there will be more areas that one fire engine will get to within 10 minutes but the downside of that is that at most house fires we need a minimum of two engines.”
But Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have responded saying the new strategy will improve attendance times across Cheshire.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Siân Corrigan said: “Our plans to build a new fire station on land off Powey Lane in Mollington is part of a comprehensive plan to improve fundamentally our emergency response service and improve attendance times across Cheshire. The plan, which
involves the building of up to five new stations, has already been the subject of a widespread public consultation.
“Most incidents we attend are dealt with by one fire engine. In fact in 2013-14 77 per cent of the incidents in Chester and Ellesmere Port only needed one fire engine and its crew.
“It is our aim to respond to all house fires and road traffic collisions within 10 minutes, we strongly believe that the location of this new station and its close proximity to the motorway network will enable us to achieve a faster response to many life risk incidents.
“We would encourage people to come and see the plans for themselves at our upcoming evening on May 16 at the Mollington, Backford and District Village Hall. It will give people the chance to view the proposed development and chat to the team behind the plans before formal planning permission is submitted.”
l Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service will be hosting a special exhibition to showcase proposals for a new fire station on land off Powey Lane in Mollington.
The event takes place from noon until 6pm on May 16 at the Mollington, Backford and District Village Hall, Station Road, Backford. The plans are also available on the Cheshire Fire website www.cheshirefire.gov.uk
See full story in the Chester Leader