Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fire Shake-Up Is a Cost-Cutter ( MP

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fire Shake-Up Is a Cost-Cutter ( MP

Article excerpt

Byline: By Dave Black

People across Northumberland are to be asked for their views on a controversial shake-up of emergency fire cover ( which an MP yesterday branded a cost-cutting exercise.

Fire and rescue chiefs plan to close fire stations in Blyth, Cramlington, Ashington and Morpeth and replace them with modern stations at East Sleekburn and Pegswood, as part of a pounds 10m PFI-funded investment in the service.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell opposes the changes and the Northumberland branch of the Fire Brigades' Union claims they will lead to slower response times and increase the risk of deaths and injuries. The county council executive yesterday began a formal consultation ( every household in Northumberland will receive a leaflet and questionnaire.

The plans would leave Mr Campbell's constituency without a single operational fire station and no fire engines in the county's two biggest towns, Blyth and Cramlington.

"As far as I am concerned this is a money-saving exercise and the county council should tell the public what it intends doing with the existing fire station sites and how much it will receive for selling them for development," Mr Campbell said. …

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