MP objects to Queenborough fire station closure 'risk'

image captionThe closure plans follow a three-year review of operations by Kent Fire and Rescue Service

A Kent MP is objecting to the closure of a fire station on the Isle of Sheppey, which he fears could put constituents at risk.

Queenborough, which is manned by part-time firefighters, is one of eight Kent Fire and Rescue Service fire stations earmarked for closure.

Gordon Henderson said he was concerned the other two fire stations on Sheppey would be over-stretched.

The fire service has said it needs to meet 21st Century challenges.

The proposed station closures follow a three-year review by which says the number of incidents the service attends has dropped by 25% since 2005.

The review began before the economic downturn but the proposals take into account a government funding cut of £12m over the next three years.

The plan is for Queenborough's firefighters to be redeployed to Sheerness. The fire service has ruled out compulsory redundancies.

A public consultation is taking place until 16 January.

"I am concerned that following the closure of Queenborough fire station, Sheppey and Eastchurch fire stations would become over-stretched and will not be able to cover all areas of the island, putting my constituents at risk," said Mr Henderson, Conservative MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

"I have written to Kent Fire and Rescue asking them to reconsider their plans and would urge my constituents to follow suit."

The fire service has said some of the stations earmarked for closure were established in Victorian times to deal with risks such as mills or factories that had now closed, while some were too near other stations.

Fire prevention work with residents and business had helped cut the number of fires and other incidents, the service said.

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