Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Fire station closure goes ahead

Fire engine
Parkhead fire station covers much of Glasgow's east end

Parkhead fire station in the east end of Glasgow is to close, it has been announced.

The board of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue has approved proposals which will see it replaced by a new fire station built in Cambuslang.

Fire chiefs said communities would continue to have a sufficient level of fire cover.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the closure would increase response times and fatality rates.

Under the plans approved on Friday the current stations at Parkhead and Cambuslang will be merged at a new state-of-the art facility to be built on the south bank of the River Clyde, close to the M74.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said the decision to replace the two stations was taken after a review showed they were both were in urgent need of repair and refurbishment, and that they could not meet service and community needs.

To remove the station will only serve to increase response times and increase fatality and casualty rates
John McFadden
Strathclyde Fire Brigades Union
The board's convener, Councillor Brian Wallace, said: "The new fire station will play a vital role for Cambuslang and Parkhead that the existing fire stations simply can't fulfil.

"Strathclyde Fire and Rescue is determined to have an 'open door' policy that welcomes the public into its community fire stations.

"The new fire station will meet these aims. It will have all the facilities, including disabled access, necessary for providing community safety training and it will also provide meeting rooms for community groups."

But the FBU condemned the closure decision and said local residents would be "outraged".

'Poorest communities'

The union said Parkhead was one of the busiest stations in the country and that its closure raised concerns about response times.

It claimed these would increase from an average of three minutes and 34 seconds to an average of eight minutes.

John McFadden, campaign coordinator for the Strathclyde Fire Brigades Union, said: "The evidence to show that Parkhead Fire Station must remain open is overwhelming.

"It is the busiest single appliance fire station in Scotland and covers some of the poorest and most needy communities in the UK.

"The decision to close the station defies all logic. To remove the station, and serve these communities from a fire station further away, will only serve to increase response times and increase fatality and casualty rates."

'No reduction'

Brian Sweeney, chief officer of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, said: "The merger of Parkhead and Cambuslang fire stations will have no adverse effect on our response to fires and other incidents in those communities.

"There will be no reduction in the number of firefighters that attend incidents and we will be able to reach all areas promptly and efficiently."

Ken Ross, Scottish regional secretary for the FBU, said "The motivation by management to close the station is nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with saving money and reducing front line jobs.

"Professional firefighters know how vital the station is to the communities it serves. Strathclyde Fire Board members will now need to seriously reflect on the decision that they have made and think about how, in future, such processes are undertaken."

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SEE ALSO
Warning over fire station closure
19 Jan 09 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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