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Fire crews face axe to save £5m

Fire chiefs are planning to axe the number of firefighters in Macclesfield in a bid to save £5m.

Fire chiefs are planning to axe the number of firefighters in Macclesfield in a bid to save £5m.

Proposals outlined by Cheshire Fire Authority include reducing the number of full-time firefighters and recruiting part-time and ‘on-call’ staff.

Other options include staffing only one engine rather than two at night.

The proposals for Macclesfield could save the authority up to £500,000 each year. In its report – Making Cheshire Safer: Proposals for 2013-14 and Beyond – the authority proposed to build up to five new stations around the county to improve response times in key areas.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock said he hoped there would be no compulsory redundancies.

He said: "Over the past seven years the number of incidents attended by the service has dropped by more than 40 per cent, with significant reductions in house, business and rubbish fires.

"At the same time, we have kept the same number of firefighters, brought in new specialist equipment such as rescue boats and midi fire engines and kept our 24 fire stations."

He added: "These proposals involve changes for both our staff and local communities.

"I am convinced, however, that they will ensure we can continue to improve the safety of our communities in the future."

Macclesfield fire station, on Chester Road, has 44 staff operating one full-time engine, an on-call engine and extending ladder.

Last year Macclesfield station was called out to 508 incidents – less than 10 per week on average – a fall of 18pc from three years ago.

The plans will be subject to a public consultation, which runs until December 17.

Information is available at the Grosvenor Shopping Centre on October 2 or online at http://cheshirefire.gov.uk

 

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