Birmingham & Black Country

Cradley Heath and Halesowen served by one fire engine

Fire brigade fighting a fire
Image caption Halesowen fire station is set to close at the end of March

One fire engine will be lost when a station in a West Midlands town closes at the end of March.

The appliance based at Halesowen will not be moved to Cradley Heath fire station which will serve both areas with a single engine.

West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority took the decision about the engine at a meeting on Monday.

The authority also set the date for the planned closure of Halesowen station as 31 March 2012.

The decision to shut the station was made in 2009.

The plan is for a new station to serve the area, possibly on the existing Cradley Heath site.

'No job losses'

The authority said that following the closure of Halesowen "a single fire appliance will be located at Cradley Heath fire station until the new combined station is up and running".

Councillor John Edwards, chairman of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, blamed the decision to lose the engine on "unprecedented fire service cuts" which he said had been "imposed by a Tory-led government".

"We will be working closely with our staff who work at both Cradley Heath and Halesowen stations. No firefighters will lose their jobs because of this change," Mr Edwards said.

He said he recognised that the decision would be "difficult" for local people.

"We will be taking the options for the new station back to the local community for their comments and feedback before we make a decision on its location," Mr Edwards added.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "The Fire and Rescue Service performs an incredibly important function for local communities.

"Despite the need to cut the national deficit - fire and rescue, as a frontline emergency service, has been given some funding protection with reductions back-loaded to give more time for necessary efficiency savings to be found without affecting standards."

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