Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Downham Fire Station - SOS

Proposal to close Downham Fire Station


I've been asked to raise awareness of the potential closure of Downham Fire Station by Councillor Janet Daby, Whitefoot councillor and Cabinet Member for Community Safety in Lewisham. As well as Downham, the proposal is to close New Cross Fire Station too.

A consultation on the closure of Downham and other fire stations across London is being conducted which ends on at 5pm on 28th May 2013. Members of the public can have their say by visiting http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/lsp5.aspwww.saveourstations.org.uk , calling 0800 9888 569, by writing to the London Fire Brigade at 169 Union Street, London, SE1 0LL.

Protest in support of Downham Fire Station
 Councillor Daby writes:


As one of the Local Councillors and Cabinet Member for Community Safety in Lewisham I am most concerned about the proposals from the London Mayor to close Downham Fire Station. With your assistance we need to make residents aware of the proposals and urge them to individually respond to prevent the closure of our local fire station. In the past this station has been saved from closure twice and I am confident we can again do this. The Fire Brigade Union have said the public concern and individual complaints and protests will have most impact to stop this from happening. In Lewisham the proposed closure is for two Lewisham Fire stations to close and this will have a safety impact on the whole of Lewisham. The local population today is more dense compared to when the Downham fire station was first built. I have recently been told more house owners are opening up their fires to save on bills, which is a possible serious safety issue, but most importantly the response time of fire service will be lengthened and this will affect lives. These are a few of the reasons why we need to maintain the service as well as the excellent preventive work the local fire brigade service provides. We need to save Downham Fire Station and the service it provides to Whitefoot, Downham and Bellingham residents, as well as to the rest of Lewisham.

In your newsletter/Website please tell residents what I have said and inform them the consultation ends at 5pm on Tuesday 28 May 2013. Members of the public can have their say by visiting http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/lsp5.aspwww.saveourstations.org.uk , calling 0800 9888 569, by writing to the London Fire Brigade at 169 Union Street, London, SE1 0LL.

The link below provides more information about the proposals

The proposals would see 12 fire stations close, seven fire stations that currently have two fire engines moving to one fire engine, and four stations gaining a fire engine (a net reduction of 18 fire engines) and a reduction in the number of firefighter posts of 520. Under the proposals, the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade believes it would be possible to make these changes without making any operational firefighters compulsorily redundant. Details of the proposed changes are:

•             Belsize – Close
•             Bow – Close
•             Clapham – Close
•             Clerkenwell – Close
•             Downham – Close
•             Kingsland – Close
•             Knightsbridge – Close
•             New Cross – Close
•             Silvertown – Close
•             Southwark – Close
•             Woolwich – Close
•             Westminster – Close    
•             Chelsea – Two fire engines to one
•             Chingford – 2 to 1
•             Hayes – 2 to 1
•             Leyton – 2 to 1
•             Leytonstone – 2 to 1
•             Peckham – 2 to 1
•             Whitechapel – 2 to 1
•             Hendon – One fire engine to two
•             Orpington – 1 to 2
•             Stanmore – 1 to 2
•             Twickenham – 1 to 2

The Draft Fifth London Safety Plan sets out a range of other proposals including how the Brigade may start recovering costs from persistent false alarm offenders, encourage the installation of sprinkler systems where appropriate, and explore setting up the world’s first 999 twitter feed. 

Members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) originally met on Monday 21 January 2013 to discuss the proposals. An amendment was made by Labour members, which was  supported by Liberal Democrat and Green members. The amendment meant that LFEPA did not agree to consultation on the part of the plan which deals with the closure of fire stations, or loss of appliances or operational posts. 

The Conservative Members of the Authority opposed the amendment and instead unanimously supported the Commissioner’s proposals. Following this, the Mayor of London used his powers of direction to instruct  LFEPA to begin a public consultation, by 13 February, on the version of the plan that was originally presented to the Authority.
At an extraordinary meeting of the Authority on Monday 11 February, a majority of members supported a resolution to stop compliance with the Mayor’s direction. 

Subsequently, the Mayor wrote to LFEPA saying that he would seek legal redress to ensure that his direction was followed. At a meeting of the Appointments and Urgency Committee on Tuesday 26 February members voted to authorise that public consultation on the whole of the draft fifth London Safety Plan could begin.