Fire station mergers being considered

editorial image

FIRE chiefs are considering a number of station mergers across St Helens following amid further Government grant cuts.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority bosses say they are considering merging Whiston with Huyton, Eccleston with St Helens or Eccleston with Whiston.

Detailed plans were set to be drawn up prior to a meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

The authority believe that station mergers are preferable to closing fire stations down altogether.

Coun Dave Hanratty, chair of the Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “We have had the worst funding cuts of any fire service in the country. Announcements for 2015/16 indicate we will have to make further £multi-million cuts.

“We recognise that communities have an affiliation with their fire stations, but we have reached the point where we cannot continue without reducing the number of stations we operate.

“I am committed to trying to make sure that the changes we have to deliver to balance the books have the biggest impact in improving community and firefighter facilities and replacing the very oldest and most inefficient buildings with new.”

He added: “The number and distribution of stations across Merseyside has remained largely unchanged since the 1950s while the number of incidents has reduced by over 50 per cent and the number of firefighters reduced from 1,500 to 760 in the last decade.

“With the financial pressures from Government now expected to continue to as far ahead as 2020 we have to make ourselves more efficient and make the very best use of our resources.”

Once merger plans have been approved, they will be sent out for public consultation.