Proposals to close Kibworth fire station stopped

 January 2016

The Combined Fire Authority for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland met on 10th January and confirmed that the Kibworth Fire Station would remain open with the current fire engine and equipment. As the station is only manned by retained fire fighters, it is important to keep new recruits coming forward.

Monday 9th November – update after briefing & 7 hours of scrutiny

Firstly, the Chief Fire Officer has agreed to hold anpther public meeting in the Kibworths provided there are enough people wanting one.  It has to be before 2nd December. I have agreed with Revd. Fremmer that St Wilfrid’s Church, which has built-in video projection and a PA system, can be used.  I have put the same invitation into the Kibworth & District Chronicle. Contact me by email: kevin.feltham@leics.gov.uk

Secondly, after a 2 hour briefing for all members and 7 hours scrutinising the senior Fire Officers, Fire Brigade Union, Retained Fire-fighters Union and Retired fire-fighters, it is clear that the service is responding to far less calls than 10 years ago (down 42%), and has a financial gap to fill.  I remain very concerned about the closure of Kibworth fire station and downgrading of the appliance for Billesdon fire station to a Tactical Response Vehicle.  The County Council Cabinet has expressed its concerns, and there is to be a full debate of the full council on 2nd December.

I have now driven myself at no faster than the speed limits from both Market Harborough fire station and Wigston fire station to the Kibworth fire station on Fleckney Road.  I managed it on both occasions in under 10 minutes; just over 8 mins from Market Harborough, and just under 10 minutes from Wigston. Clearly with a blue light flashing and consequent higher speeds, these times could be reduced.

Thursday 15th October 2015 – Consultation event at Kibworth Fire Station

Over 200 people attended. About 80 inside (60 on chairs) and the rest in the garage entrance and on the forecourt.

Steve Lunn (Deputy Chief Fire Officer) gave a 35 minutes slide presentation before taking questions for over 2 hours. Part of proposal as part of budget cuts of some £3m is to close Kibworth fire station, and make staff redundant.  Market Harborough will have a full time crew and single fire engine, Wigston will have two full time crews and two fire engines. Billesdon will lost the fire engine and it will be replaced with a Tactical Response Vehicle (TRV). Response time to incident in the Kiibworths will still be 10 minutes.

Many issues raised including:

  • Who makes final decision?  – Combined Fire Authority (CFA) in early February
  • High cost of new Birstall HQ (£11.7M) – cost also included new fire station (50%) plus EMAS now use building for their call centre and pay rent. Leicester Central could only take 30 staff, whereas 80 are based at Birstall.
  • What are consequences on staff numbers? – Propose to reduce retained staff across area by 80 staff and full-time by 8 (88 in total, following 75 last year)
  • What is cost of running Kibworth fire station? Could community finance it? – Understood to be around £200,000 per year. Yes, similar arrangements are being made with Rutland County Council.
  • Why not sell costly regional fire control centre at Castle Donington? – Not owned by Leicestershire & Rutland service. Government funded several across country but plug pulled in 2010.
  • Why not alternative options? Managers were asked to come up with proposals to meet budget cuts and provide best possible service.
  • Why no CFA members present? – Could not be answered by Steve Lunn. I have followed up with leader of LCC, Nick Rushton.
  • What equipment is provided on TRV? – Sufficient equipment to put out small fire (not house etc.), cutting equipment for accident, scene safety cones, trauma kit etc. 2 man crew.

From my perspective as county councillor but not a member of the Combined Fire Authority, I will be attending an all member briefing on the morning of 2 November at County Hall by the Chief Fire Officer; this will include an opportunity for questions. On 4 November from 2pm, the Scrutiny Commission will be meeting (this is webcast live) and the first item on the agenda is to scrutinise the consultation and question the Chief Fire Officer and colleagues before making recommendations to the Cabinet, who will meet to discuss their response on November.  This response will then be debated at the full County Council meeting (this is webcast live) starting at 2.30pm on 2 December at County Hall.

Please email me with any questions and I’ll try to put them to the chief fire officer at one of the sessions.