Town Councillor, Laura Dillon and Newcastle Borough Councillor, Sarah Pickup are calling for an important footpath to be adopted and repaired. The footpath between Poplar Drive and Windmill Avenue is supposed to serve the local community as a safer route to St. Thomas’ Primary School. In recent years, the path has been neglected and the wooden sleepers, used to hold up part of the walk way, have begun to rot. Parents and children are avoiding the footpath, citing that it is too dangerous to walk up or down.
Laura Dillon said: “More and more parents are dropping their children off to school in their vehicles because they fear using the footpath between Poplar Drive and Windmill Avenue. It’s slippy and I know parents and children have fallen on several occasions. I would like Staffordshire County Council to help fix the path so that it can be made safe. Why cant these routes be adopted when there is such an obvious benefit to the community? I will continue to push for some answers and I am also looking into whether we can apply for some community funding to put the problem right.”
Cllr Pickup said: “More and more people are using their cars these days, but we need to encourage walking to school if at all possible. Parents will not take up walking schemes with their children if the roads and footpaths are dangerous. The local authority really needs to get a grip and put much needed investment into our local highways.”
(Published and promoted by Kyle Robinson of 88 Newchapel Road, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4RT on behalf of Laura Dillon of 42 Hillary Road, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4DP)
Councillors have voted to urge Staffordshire Fire Authority to change possible plans to close Kidsgrove Fire Station. Kidsgrove Fire Station was opened in September 2011, costing the taxpayer £2.2 Million. The people of Kidsgrove were led to believe that the station would serve the locality for at least 60 years.
The Fire Stations across the region were built with a £50 Million Private Finance Initiative. This could mean that even if the stations close, the taxpayer will still be paying for them for over 20 years. Selling the buildings on will not recoup the build cost.
Back in July 2012, Chief Fire Officer, Peter Dartford told the evening Sentinel: “The extent to which the fire station has been used already is a clear demonstration of how important it is to the community. The facility provides a range of new opportunities for us and the partners we work with to engage more with the local community, better understand their needs and work with them to resolve their issues.”
One of the options contained within the consultation include reducing the normal fire engine size to a smaller vehicle. The smaller vehicles are the size of a transit van. Fire officers have expressed their own personal concerns to me and other colleagues, that these smaller vehicles contain a quarter of the water needed to fight a fire similarly seen recently on Congleton Road at The Fisherman’s catch takeaway. This saw a terraced commercial property gutted by fire and it took almost 25 minutes for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to respond from Burslem Fire Station. It was suggested the Kidsgrove Station was unmanned on this day. It is felt by many that a minute added to response times will cost lives. Large loss of government income, is leading to a reduced level of prevention, protection and response and the impact will be major which includes loss of life or long term hospitalisation of innocent members of the public.
We only have to look over our borders to see what fire station closures can lead to. In South Wales, Fire and Rescue Service cuts have led to a situation of Fire crews not being able to assist with rope rescues or floods. Whilst in Dorset, a funding crisis and cutbacks of services has led to fire fighters working in their own time and response times dangerously increasing. These examples mirror what is to come to Staffordshire if people don’t stand against this and protect Kidsgrove’s emergency response capabilities.
The Town Council will inform Peter Dartford of the Council’s intention to fight the proposals. The closure of this facility should never have been an option in the consultation. Carving up Kidsgrove and sharing our Fire and Rescue Service with Cheshire and Alsager is ill thought out and the Town Council sees the detrimental impact this will have on response times. We firmly believe that the Kidsgrove Fire Station and the emergency response capabilities of the facility should remain at the same level. Although the council would be willing to look at the option of helping to set up a management committee to help run the community side of the station, reducing the burden on fire service staff.
Kidsgrove Town Councillor, Sarah Pickup said: “I don’t agree with the sentiment that because the fire service staff do such an excellent job that they should have their numbers cut. The County Council/Fire Authority is elected by us, it is our fire service and we should be able to decide the future and say no to closure. Kidsgrove is expanding and we are soon to have a new transport interchange that brings with it potential tragic incidents. We need a fire station that is manned in Kidsgrove and we will not accept decisions from Stafford and London.”
Kidsgrove Deputy Mayor, Sylvia Dymond said: “The Butt Lane area is being developed so much more and the infrastructure is not there to support it. Now they suggest taking away the Fire Station. This is really not acceptable.”