Plans to merge Whiston and Huyton fire stations

St Helens Star: Whiston Community Fire Station (Pic Tony Thomas) Whiston Community Fire Station (Pic Tony Thomas)

PROPOSED changes to fire and rescue cover could see a new merged station being built in Prescot.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority have put forward a proposal to shut Whiston and Huyton Fire Stations and create a new £2.8 million station on Manchester Road.

The station would be funded by a £1.77 million Government capital grant, with the rest coming from reserves.

Should the merger take place, the average response time from Prescot to an incident on the combined station area is estimated to be five minutes and nine seconds.

This compares to an average of five minutes, two seconds for incidents in Whiston and five minutes, 25 seconds currently for incidents in Huyton.

A public meeting is due to be held at Rainhill High School on Tuesday, June 10 at 7.30pm with further meetings at the Lord Derby Academy, Huyton on June 12 and at St Edmund Arrowsmith, Whiston on June 17 both starting at 6pm.

Focus groups will be held in all three districts and Knowsley-based Fire and Rescue Service staff will meet with management to discuss the plans.

Dan Stephens, Chief Fire Officer at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Over the past four years the service has had to make savings of £20 million as a result of cuts to our Government grant.

“We must now make further savings of £6.3 million in 2015/16 and our expectation is more grant reductions in following years.

“We are continuing to make significant savings already reducing the number of firefighters by almost half over the last decade and the number of fire appliances from 42 to 28.

“We will still have the same number of stations, however and with an inevitable further loss of appliances that position is no longer sustainable.”

Annual savings from the reduction of 22 firefighter posts and the move to one station would be £863,000.

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