Felixstowe: Consultation on fire crew cuts to start in new year

FELIXSTOWE: County council bosses are promising there will be 12 weeks for people to have their say on whether Felixstowe’s full-time fire crews should be axed.

The proposal to withdraw full-time daytime cover and leave the resort to rely on on-call firefighters and crews coming from Ipswich – 13 minutes or more away – is being made as part of the council’s bid to cut costs.

The Evening Star has launched its Save Our Fire Crews campaign to fight the proposal, which could put lives at risk in an emergency.

There has been overwhelming support, with many people signing and sending in petition forms – and now people are also signing our on-line petition to register their protest against the move.

Fire chief Andy Fry, corporate director for public protection, said there would be a statutory 12-week public consultation, which would start in late January or early February.

“I would stress that no final decisions have been made at this stage and there will be an opportunity for Evening Star readers to have the proposals explained very clearly to them, and for people across the county to have their say,” he said.

People’s biggest worry is how long it will take for a fire crew to reach an accident or a blaze.

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At the moment, the full-time crew can be at an emergency in three to four minutes, while the on-call offficers have to leave work, drive through traffic to the fire station in High Road West and wait for enough officers to arrive to man a fire engine before setting off.

When the Evening Star drove from the new community fire station at The Havens, Ransomes Europark, this week – not during rush hour and not on a day when the A14 was blocked or busy with lorries overtaking each other – it took just over 11 minutes to reach the shops in Faulkeners Way, Trimley St Mary.

But to reach Marsh Lane, Old Felixstowe, where there was recently a major barn fire which almost caught houses alight, it took more than 13 minutes, as it did to reach a seafront a caravan park.

n How do you think the cuts will affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk