Bamber Bridge hit deepest by fire budget cuts

Retained firefighters at Chorley Fire Station, who face redundancy under the controversial review
Retained firefighters at Chorley Fire Station, who face redundancy under the controversial review

Bamber Bridge fire station will be the worst hit in Lancashire if new fire service proposals go ahead, it has been claimed.

New plans by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, which would also see redundancies in Chorley, will mean Bamber Bridge Fire Station is downgraded to part-time.

The review, which has been drawn up in a bid to save the service £10m over four years after its budget was cut by 25 per cent, was discussed during heated public meetings in Chorley and South Ribble last week.

Bamber Bridge currently has a ‘wholetime’ crew on duty around the clock, supported by a second engine manned by a ‘retained’ part-time team, who have other jobs but are within five minutes of the station in case of a call-out.

Under the cutbacks the full-time engine would move to Chorley, leaving Bamber Bridge with only part-time cover. There are no plans for changes to be made at Leyland, which is manned by an on-site crew from 8am until 6pm, with crews working from home in the evening in a retained capacity.

But in Chorley, the proposed changes will see the retained crew at Weldbank Lane face the axe.

Currently the retained fire crew responds to emergencies in under five minutes, while the wholetime crew, based at the new Chorley Community Fire Station in Euxton, instantly respond.

The loss of the retained crew will see a second wholetime crew join at the Community Fire Station.

A new ‘specialist rescue hub’ will also be introduced there, incorporating the Urban Search and Rescue team (USAR), which specialises in motorway crashes involving lorries, gas explosions and building collapses.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Kenny said: “The changes we propose ensure that we are better able to reach all parts of Chorley, particularly following the growth around the Buckshaw Village area in recent years.”

- Call-outs in Lancashire have fallen by almost two-thirds in a decade from 14,500 in 2002 to around 5,000 last year.