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Revamping Preston Circus fire station could cost lives, union warns
Union leaders are warning the planned £1.5m refurbishment of a fire station could put lives at risk.
The proposed revamp of Brighton's Preston Circus station comes as 24 frontline firefighters look set to be cut from city stations.
Although East Sussex Fire and Rescue has allocated £750,000 over the next two years for the refurbishment scheme, union leaders say the station is already in a “reasonable condition”.
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Steve Liszka, Preston Circus FBU branch chair, said: “The station was built in the 1930s. Over the years money has been spent to maintain it as a modern facility.
“There aren't any obvious maintenance issues with the building at this time.”
ESFR has been tasked with saving £7.1million over the next five years.
Proposed cuts, which are currently out for consultation, would see between 50 and 80 frontline firefighter posts lost in East Sussex with 24 from Brighton and Hove alone.
Union leaders claim the cuts could lead to deaths in the community.
The FBU said crews from the now closed Woolwich station would have reached the victim in just six minutes - four minutes sooner than he was.
A union spokesman added: “We are urging the Fire Authority to learn from the mistakes made in London and vote against these dangerous proposals that will put the public lives in the city of Brighton and Hove at great risk.”
A spokeswoman for ESFR said “tough decisions” had to be made with funding being cut.
She said: “We are happy to review any recommendations that the FBU have which will help us close our funding gap.
“We would also urge people to take part in our public consultation on proposed changes.”
Referring to the building work, she added: “While we need to make savings, we also need to ensure our buildings and fire appliances are maintained.
“Our aim is to keep the building in good condition and protect it as a financial asset for the benefit of the public.”
To take part in the public consultation visit www.esfrs.org.
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