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Kidsgrove Town Council lambasts Fire Authority over Fire Service Cuts

Kidsgrove Town Council Bedroom Tax

The Town Council votes to send a clear message to save Kidsgrove Fire Station.

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.

Councillors call plans to close Kidsgrove Fire Station 'Shambolic'.

Councillors call plans to close Kidsgrove Fire Station ‘Shambolic’. (Picture Copyright to The Sentinel)

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.”

Kidsgrove’s Victorian Market Returns

Kidsgrove Victorian Market 4

The Kidsgrove Victorian Market gets busier each year.

This year’s Kidsgrove Victorian Christmas Market is set to be the biggest yet and will take place on Saturday 29th November, 10am-4pm at the Town Hall. With more focus on business stalls and supporting small businesses in the town, we are hoping the wares offered this year will be even more spectacular. The event will include the Kidsgrove Rotary Santa Clause Grotto, Victorian Tea Rooms, traditional and vintage stalls, local hand-made products, Christmas entertainment and professional crafts.

Year on year, the Victorian Market in Kidsgrove has attracted hundreds of people from far and wide. This is an event not to be missed. This event is educational for all of the family and will give you the opportunity to step back in time to imagine Kidsgrove in the Victorian era. Many people dress up for the occasion in authentic period attire to enhance the Victorian ambiance.

The entertainment will include the Kidsgrove Community Choir, The Tamil Dancers of Stoke-on-Trent, local artists performing Christmas carols and more.

To hire a stall there is a £20.00 fee and you must return the booking form in the link below to kidsgrovetc@btconnect.com:

VCM Stalls Application Form 2014 – Traders

Concert to Help Prevent Blindness

RP Poster-page-001

Charity Concert to raise funds for fighting blindness research.

A charity concert is to be held at Kidsgrove Victoria Hall to raise money for research into an inherited disease of the eye, that can cause progressive blindness. Dimitri, the 1 year old son of operatic singer Denise (Leigh) and accordionist Stefan Andrusyschyn, both blind,has inherited the gene that can cause this disease and if there is no cure by the time Dimitri is in his teens, he may start to lose his sight.

The concert will feature:

  • Denise (Leigh) and husband Stefan Andrusyschyn. In 2001 Denise was winner of the TV reality show, ‘Operatunity’, and since then has become an internationally renowned singer having sung at the Beijing Paralympics, the London Paralympics closing ceremony and for royalty at St James’s Palace. Stefan is a popular musician who plays piano and accordion, both solo and as accompanist to Denise and others.
  • The Churnet Valley Male Voice Choir. Based in Cheadle, this choir has a reputation for creating a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and for providing a varied and regularly updated repertoire. The Choir is as likely to re-create the music of Matt Munro, The Hollies, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Westlife and Les Miserables as it is to sing opera, spirituals or a love song in Maori or Welsh.
  • The North Staffs Accordion Band. The band is based in Newcastle-under-Lyme and it plays throughout North Staffordshire and East Cheshire. Their new musical director has introduced several newpieces and the band was delighted with a high placing at the 2014 Newcastle Festival for Music, Speech and Drama.
  • Phil Eardley will be “master of ceremonies”. Phil is a graduate of the UK School of Professional Toastmasters and is a member of the Magic Circle.

Kidsgrove Town Hall is situated on the main A50, just above the central Kidsgrove traffic lights, and the parking area is behind the building. The bar will be open from 7 p.m. on the night.

Tickets, at £5, are available from Steve Hughes 01782 787935 (or text 07939362294)

 RP stands for Retinitis Pigmentosa. It is a hereditary disease of the retina that results in the progressive loss of sight and blindness and in the UK it is estimated that some 25,000 families are affected. Currently there is no available cure or treatment.

 All the money that we generate from the concert will be donated to ‘RP Fighting Blindness’ – registered charity number 271729 – who fund research into a cure for this disease.

 The charitywas founded in 1975 by Lynda Cantor MBE, following her own diagnosis of RP. She was concerned with the lack of knowledge about the disease in the medical profession as well as the limited support for patients. This charity is entirely funded by voluntary donations and it supports seven research projects.