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Chance to tell council what you think of fire service cuts

Wednesday, 9th February 2011.

Haverhill people have their chance to say what they think about the reductions at Haverhill fire station, during a consultation exercise which starts tomorrow.

Local communities are invited to have their say on the future of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service with the launch of a new consultation.

The consultation will begin tomorrow and end on Thursday, May 5. Businesses, local councils, fire service staff and individuals across Suffolk are encouraged to express their views on the seven proposals to change the way the service is delivered and the response standards set by the Fire and Rescue Service.

As a result of reductions in the county council’s funding, the Fire and Rescue Service need to deliver significant savings in the coming years.

Among the changes are a reduction of full-time cover at Haverhill from seven to five days a week, with the weekends being covered by on-call firefighters.

Cllr Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council portfolio holder for public protection, said: “We have an excellent fire and rescue service in Suffolk.

"Despite the cutbacks we are facing, I believe it can stay that way. Importantly, we have maintained the same number of fire stations and fire engines across Suffolk.

"However, to do that, we need to look hard at the way we have been delivering the service and look for ways of doing things differently.

"We are keen to hear the local views on our proposals and I urge everyone to look at the consultation documents and help shape the future of the service.

"The reality of the current financial climate means that we have no choice but to review all council services, and this includes the important work done by the fire and rescue service."

All responses to the consultation will form part of a report which will be considered by the county council's cabinet, and the council says no decision on the proposals will be made until that time.

Andy Fry, chief fire officer, said; “We have been careful to assess the risks associated with each of the proposals and believe that they strike a sensible balance between our vital role in protecting the public and meeting the financial challenge we face.

"It is, however, essential that we consult people across Suffolk, so that they fully understand our proposals and are given an opportunity to comment on them."

The full consultation document and questionnaire can be found at www.suffolk.gov.uk/IRMP or by request at any of Suffolk’s libraries.

Haverhill Online News

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