VIDEO: Fire service takes to YouTube to answer questions on Burwell and Swaffham Bulbeck merger plan

Grab from YouTube video on public consultation

Grab from YouTube video on public consultation - Credit: Archant

QUESTIONS on plans to combine Burwell and Swaffham Bulbeck fire stations have been answered in a YouTube video.

In the video, Chris Strickland, Cambridgeshire’s deputy chief fire officer, acknowledged that closing the fire station in Swaffham Bulbeck would inevitably lead to longer response times in the village.

But he insisted that, taken as an average, it would only add 13 seconds to response times in the “east of the county”.

He also pointed to statistics that suggested that firefighters based in Swaffham only responded to 11 calls last year because “they were unavailable” for the rest of the time.

“Because the population is so small in that area we are struggling to crew the appliances,” he said. “We are going to get to a point where the fire engine never turns up because we really are struggling to crew it.”

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He also responded to a question about redeveloping both current stations instead of building a new one.

He said: “The fundamental problem we have with both stations is that they are not really fire stations. Burwell is, in effect, a shed.

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“It is very small, there are no changing facilities, no toilet and no ability to do training or lectures inside because there is nowhere to go.

“Swaffham, another example, is not a fire station but is actually an old public house. It was given to us back in the 1960s.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority hope to create a larger, purpose built fire station.

Final decisions will be taken in October.

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