Smokescreen over fire service future in Milton Keynes?

WARNING: Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for MK South warns that the fire service could be forced to close some stations in a bid to save money.
WARNING: Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for MK South warns that the fire service could be forced to close some stations in a bid to save money.

City fire stations could move, merge, co-locate or even CLOSE in a bid to save money and change how the service responds to emergencies.

A number of proposals are being considered by Bucks and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service as a way of balancing “capacity against demand”.

A three-month public consultation on the public safety plan, which ended on Monday, outlined the proposals by BFRS which includes reviewing its crewing models and working in partnership with other emergency services.

Andrew Pakes, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, claims several city stations will face change in the next part of the consultation.

He said: “It looks like Bletchley and Great Holm stations will be closed to be replaced with one new station and something will happen to Newport Pagnell – either closed and served from Broughton or becoming
a part-time station.”

An FBU spokesman said he was pleased BFRS has agreed to further consult with the public over any defined proposals, which may result in a change to front-line services.

He said: “I predict that any proposal from this particular review will be unpalatable not just to the FBU but also to the public of Milton Keynes.

“I do not see how any change, within the parameters they have identified, would not result in an increase to risk levels and compromise public and fire fighter safety to some extent.”

There is now an ongoing review focused on Milton Keynes to identify the impact of the changes, which will be followed by another public consultation once a solution has been agreed.

BFRS says the proposed changes will save money and allow for focus on getting better trained firefighters to emergencies quicker.

A spokesman for BFRS said: “There are no firm plans for any changes yet and we are looking closely at what everyone has said.

“If a review of fire stations reaches the point where we are considering moving, merging, closing or co-locating a station, we will run another public consultation.

“We cannot be specific at this stage as any discussion about particular fire stations could put commercially sensitive information into the public domain.

“This could, for example, affect the price of land if we were considering a new location for a fire station.

“Our vision remains to make Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes the safest areas in England in which to live, work and travel, and we would obviously not do anything to compromise the safety of the public or our firefighters.”