South Yorkshire Joint Authorities Governance Unit
18 Regent Street
S70 2HG 22nd March 2017
Proposal to remove a fire appliance – Rotherham Fire Station
Dear Cllr Cave
I request that you read out my short note at the forthcoming meeting of the Fire Authority, and that the following question be put to the group for consideration.
At a recent meeting, 17/02, of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board (OSMB) of Rotherham Borough Council a question from a member of the public was allowed to be put to the council representative of the Fire Authority. The question related to the current public consultation covering the proposal to reduce by one, the number of pumps based at the fire station here in Rotherham at night. This consultation period is due to end next Monday 27/03.
The question came as a complete surprise to my-self and other members of the committee since we were completely unaware that such a proposal was under consideration. Following some discussion on the matter, there was a general acceptance that the proposal was not well understood and that the consultation had not been particularly effective. Indeed, our Fire Authority representative accepted that this was the case, and verification of this fact is available via the Rotherham website.
It was further agreed that a presentation in support of the proposals would take place 21/03, to wider group of RMBC elected members. And in the in between time, I have spoken to a number of friends, colleagues, the local press i.e. The Rotherham Advertiser, members of the public at surgery meetings and other groups to try to ascertain how many people were aware of the proposals, and of the consultation period and process. And I can confirm that no one I contacted was aware of the proposed actions.
Following the presentation of 21/03, a number of factors came to light:
- A funding surplus exists until 2021
- The proposed new model remains unproven
- The proposed plan has not been updated year on year since inception
- Fire deaths are on the increase
- Primary fires are increasing
- Calls received and handled are increasing
- Response times are increasing
- Predictive modelling data used does not take into account the removal of Rotherham’s second night time appliance and needs further work to take place.
- In Rotherham we are building more houses ….
The above list is by no means exhaustive following the presentation given by the Fire Authority to elected members here in Rotherham.
Thus my question is as follows:
Here in Rotherham we remain concerned at the proposals, and therefore to ensure that the public are fully informed and engaged, we ask that the consultation period is increased to at least 12 weeks, and that further dialogue takes place with The Fire Brigades Union to find alternatives.
Cllr Allen Cowles Sitwell Ward
UKIP Group Leader RMBC