Fire cuts campaigners “ignored” as chiefs announce Clerkenwell still set to close following public consultation
- Credit: Archant
Fire chiefs today announced a scale back on the number of stations set to be closed across London – but are still wielding the axe at Clerkenwell.
Ten fire stations will now be closed across the capital rather than 12, but the decision to not save Clerkenwell was branded “dangerous” by campaigners after a lengthy public consultation.
Hundreds took to the streets last month in an attempt to keep Europe’s oldest fire station – also one of the busiest in London – open.
The campaign was backed by high-profile celebrities including Jonathan Creek star Alan Davies and actor Samuel West. Hackney’s Kingsland station is also still set to be closed.
Jennette Arnold, Islington’s Labour London Assembly member, said: “Residents spoke with one voice against the closure of fire stations at Kingsland and Clerkenwell.
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“Boris has not listened to residents and is going ahead with his ill-thought out plan.
“Public meetings have shown that Londoners are fearful for the safety of the areas where they live and work.
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“In my constituency 5,000 people signed a petition calling for Boris to think again. They are understandably worried about injuries and fatalitiesfrom fire.
“I am deeply disappointed that Boris has failed to protect London’s fire brigade by not scrapping his plans.”
Kingsland fire station in Hackney will still be closed as part of the amended plan which will see engines across the capital reduced by 14, rather than 18.
However, the number of firefighters being axed across the capital has increased from 520 to 552.
Clapham fire station, in Lambeth, and New Cross fire station, in Lewisham, have been saved.
Islington Lib Dem Cllr Terry Stacy, who sits on the London Fire Authority, said: “It is a slap in the face for Islington residents from Boris.
“He has totally ignored Clerkenwell and his recklessness is putting our safety at risk. He is lucky he can sleep in his bed safe at night.”
Islington Council’s member for community safety, Cllr Paul Convery, said: “This is a dangerous plan.
“The lengthy and comprehensive public consultation has shown that Londoners and their borough councils have decisively rejected the fire station closures and called for an alternative financing deal.
“The £45.5 million Fire Brigade cut proposed by the Mayor of London equates to just 0.4 per cent of the total budget under his control.
“These savings could be found elsewhere with no significant effect on front line services.”
Announcing the plans, London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “I would like to thank all of those who contributed to the consultation process.
“I listened very hard to the views of everyone attending public meetings and where possible, my revised plan takes into account some of the concerns raised.”
Publication of the new report follows a 15 week consultation. The new plan will now be discussed by the Fire Authority on Thursday, July 18.