Only one Havering fire station on ‘safe list’
�Only one of Havering’s four fire stations is completely safe from the threat of closure, a report has revealed this week.
The document, published on the London Fire Authority’s website, states that Harold Hill is the only facility which will definitely not close – because it is only two years old.
Labour members of the London Assembly have said the proposals would put lives at risk, but the fire brigade chief says claims are “scaremongering”.
The report contains several different models for making cuts – the level of which is dependent on the size of the brigade’s budget settlement from Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
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One option – based on a need to make �50m of savings – would see both Hornchurch and Wennington stations close and Romford lose one of its two fire engines.
The latest update to the report states that it would be preferred if no Havering stations were closed. However, the list of stations definitely not closing has not been revised.
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London Assembly member Tom Copley (Labour, London-wide) said: “The biggest thing that we’re worried about is the emergency response times.
“Bricks and mortar don’t put out fires, but if fire engines have got to travel further a matter of 30 seconds could make a huge difference.”
But London Fire Brigade commissioner, Ron Dobson, said: “On-going reports of individual stations closing are nothing but unfounded, sensationalised scare stories.
“Having spent 33 years as a firefighter serving the capital during events including the bombing of Canary Wharf, the July 7 terrorist attacks and last summer’s civil disturbances, I will not propose anything that would put the lives of Londoners, or firefighters, at risk.”
One sequence of events could mean that Hornchurch could lose its hospital, fire station and police station within a matter of months.
The Metropolitan Police is due to announce in three from page 1
weeks time whether or not it is closing its Station Lane facility.
St George’s Hospital, in Suttons Lane, is currently closed following a Legionella scare, with its future uncertain.
Cllr John Mylod (Residents Association, St Andrews), who helped organise a 5,500-strong petition against the possible closure of the police station, said: “It seems like Hornchurch has been targeted to have no services left at all.
“If they are planning to cut frontline services, have they looked at the chief executive and their central London headquarters?
“The way things are going we’re going to have to use stirrup pumps like those which were used during the war.”
London assembly member and Elm Park councillor Roger Evans (Conservative) said: “There are different rationales behind keeping police and fire stations open, the important thing around fire is the need for fast response times.
“The fact that we had to open a new fire station, which I lobbied for, two years ago (in Harold Hill) was because they weren’t fast enough in the borough.
“I would be surprised if any Havering stations were closed.”