Fenny Compton Fire Station
You may have seen the banner at the fire station that indicates we have been nominated for closure. There are 19 retained fire stations such as Fenny Compton within Warwickshire and 7 stations have been nominated for closure, a reduction of about 36%.
Let me briefly try to explain the situation as we, the crew, understand it but firstly I’ll give a little history in an effort to help everyone to interpret the bigger picture.
You may recall the incident at Ufton Landfill Site in September 2007; the Fenny Compton appliance was second in attendance. Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service (WFRS) resources during the initial stages of this incident were stretched and our crew played a major role during the course of this incident.
A couple of months after, you may recall the disastrous incident at Atherstone On Stour on Friday November 2nd 2007 where 4 firefighters lost their lives. The Fenny Compton appliance was also mobilised to this incident. Resources within WFRS were stretched beyond their limit and additional resources had to be brought in from neighbouring counties (and further afield) to manage this incident. There will likely have been an enormous bill to Warwickshire from the various counties for their services.
In March 2008, there was the incident at Moreton Hall. Once again WFRS resources were stretched and at least one specialist appliance was needed from a neighbouring county. The Fenny Compton appliance was second in attendance here too.
We are mobilised on occasions to provide cover at whole time stations, Leamington Spa, Stratford Upon Avon and Rugby whilst they are either attending other incidents or when they are short staffed.
Prior to these incidents, WFRS had indicated that they planned to close four retained fire stations in the county; Fenny Compton was not included in these initial plans. Following the Atherstone On Stour incident, all closure plans were shelved. Could this have been because WFRS had insufficient resources to cope?
Currently WFRS have a temporary Chief Fire Office, Paul Fuller, who is on secondment from Bedfordshire. It would appear that he has been tasked by the County Council to make recommendations for further modernisations to improve the Fire & Rescue Service provided to the general public in Warwickshire. For these improvements to take effect additional funding is required but the County Council have reached their limit so rationalisation seems to be the only option. Apparently, all the details relating to these cuts were known about prior to the local elections but were withheld until recently (I wonder why?).
Anyway, this is a very brief summary of what was said during a presentation to us on Thursday 10th September.
“On an average day 43% of retained fire stations may not be available. To provide additional equipment and to rectify inefficiencies in the whole time stations WFRS need to raise around £1million and to do this we propose closing 7 retained fire stations in the county including Fenny Compton. We are not taking into account your availability record or how much the financial overhead is for your station, you are in the wrong location. In a rural area such as Fenny Compton the public will need to wait at least 20 minutes or more for attendance of a fire appliance, we would send Southam here or probably utilise the service from Banbury. Your strategic fire station status