Councillor slams proposals to 'downgrade' fire cover in Evesham - The Evesham Observer

Councillor slams proposals to 'downgrade' fire cover in Evesham

A LEADING Evesham councillor has slammed potential changes to firefighting in the town and claimed the proposals would have a ‘detrimental’ impact to the service.

Speaking at an Evesham Town Council meeting on Monday (May 15), Coun John Smith attacked a bid by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) which could mean overnight incidents dealt with by on call firefighters.

As the Observer has previously reported, HWFRS have put forward major proposals which will affect fire cover in a bid to save more than £800,000.

If the plans go ahead, Evesham’s Fire Station would be manned full time Monday to Friday from 8.40am until 6pm, with all over cover provided by on-call firefighters.

Changes will also be made to evening cover. Although two appliances would still be available on a five minute response time, both crews would be made up of on-call crews rather than the current situation which sees one appliance manned by full-time firefighters.

But speaking at the meeting, Coun Smith said the proposals had sparked concern.

“Let’s take Evesham, there is no fully manned fire crew anywhere near Evesham, the nearest one is Worcester and that frightens me.

“With all the development that is going on in Evesham, and I understand that you’re trying to make some savings because you’ve increased the crewing from four to five, and I accept that and think it’s a good idea.

“But to have no fire cover, only retained guys, at nights here I think is a detrimental set back to Hereford and Worcester Fire Service.

“If we have a major fire in Evesham where are you going to get the crews from if the part-time crews are not available?

“I’m certainly not happy with the proposals and I’ve spoken to both retained and full time staff and they are as concerned as I think I am about the lack of cover,” he added.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, John Hodges, defiantly claimed cover would not be reduced at the town’s station.

“At the moment we have two appliances in Evesham – one immediately available and the other retained in the day and two at night,” he said.

“In its basic format, in the day at the moment we have two appliances at Evesham. One appliance is what we call immediately available, that’s within 90 seconds, and the second appliance is made up of retained firefighters who work locally.

“In the evening, both of those appliances will be retained so they’ll both be on five minute callouts.

“In terms of the particular issue around crewing, back at the fire authority meeting in February we were asked to take a look at crewing arrangements because we had been lobbied by members of the service.

“The Fire Authority then asked us to look at arrangements to see if we could identify arrangements where by we could continue to provide the same fire cover, but we could provide five firefighters instead of four,” he added.

What do you think? Write to the editor by sending an email to [email protected] with your views

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Evesham Observer newspaper.

Reader Travel

Check out all of the latest reader travel offers to get your hands on some free gifts.

Business Directory

From plumbers, to restaurants, we can provide you with all the info you need.


Find a career you'll love with our free career finder website.