Fire station closures: Councillors oppose plans for ‘blue-light hub’

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Plans to close fire stations in the city have been opposed by Milton Keynes Council.

Fire chiefs want to create a new £4.4million hub in West Ashland by merging brigades from Great Holm and Bletchley – and basing police officers in the same building.

However at a meeting last week, Councillor Martin Gowans voiced concerns that the closures will have a “significant effect” on fire cover in north, west and central Milton Keynes.

His motion was backed by a majority of councillors, who voted in favour of opposing the closures.

While the Fire Brigades Union predicts response times will double if plans go ahead, chiefs maintain the ‘blue-light hub’ will be “safe and cost-effective”.

The concerns have been raised just over half way through a seven-week consultation on proposals made by Bucks & MK Fire Authority.

Councillor Gowans argues that while the city’s population continues to soar, fire stations should not be slashed.

He said: “It strikes us that the Great Holm station in particular is on the doorstep of the Western Expansion Area, where 6,000 houses will be built in the next few years.

“In addition, Great Holm is the nearest fire station to the historic conservation area of Stony Stratford, with it’s many timber-framed listed buildings.”

The consultation will run until 10am on Monday, November 9.

Fire chiefs say they will consider the responses before deciding whether the proposal should be implemented, rejected or amended.

Area Commander Paul Holland from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: “Bucks and Milton Keynes Fire Authority will consider this input from Milton Keynes Council very carefully and welcomes the fact that it has helped to raise the profile of the public consultation exercise.

“The consultation document that has been in the public domain since September 14 contains the facts and data that we stand by.

“We urge people to read the data and proposals in our consultation document and to respond to the questionnaire.

“There’s still plenty of time, and nothing has been decided yet.”

Details are at bucksfire.gov.uk/mk and the public consultation runs until November 9.