With the future of Dronfield Fire Station due to be debated by Derbyshire Fire Authority next Thursday, Lee Rowley, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for North East Derbyshire, has called upon the Authority to "tell it straight" about the future of the fire station.
Despite a 3-month consultation, thousands of responses and a promise from the Labour leader of the Fire Authority to "come up with something", the report published today by the Fire Authority leaves hanging whether Dronfield and other fire stations are going to be closed or not, whilst admitting that North East Derbyshire led the county in opposing the proposals put forward.
"This looks like a classic fudge by a Labour Fire Authority that either no longer knows, or won't admit, that fire station closures are still on the agenda," said Lee Rowley. "Dronfield and Derbyshire deserve better."
"In October it was the Fire Authority themselves who began this consultation saying they needed to 'act decisively' and 'pro-actively' on these proposals. After seeing the depth of opposition, this has now been completely watered down to only 'take account of the consultation feedback', to consult more and to look at fire station closures at an unspecific time as 'a last resort'."
"Dronfield residents want clarity about whether the Fire Authority wants to retain or close the fire station. They raised the issue and it is no good, when the pressure is on, to try to avoid the subject."
Papers released by the Fire Authority this morning also confirm that North East Derbyshire residents led the way in opposing these flawed proposals, with a 4,030 name petition being gathered by the residents of Dronfield, part of the largest response in the county. Less than 10% of local residents agreed with the proposals put forward for closure.
"North East Derbyshire residents led the way in opposing these proposals - demonstrating the importance of retaining Dronfield Fire Station in the future. This proves what we have been telling the Fire Authority since the beginning; that the proposal for Dronfield is the wrong closure, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," said Lee.
"Next Thursday is the opportunity for the Fire Authority to clarify the position on the future of Dronfield - and a fudged decision which kicks the problem into the long grass simply won't do."