Kent fire station closures proposals defended by chief

Kent Fire and Rescue Service sign
Image caption KF&RS wants people to respond to the consultation in writing

The proposal to close eight fires stations in Kent has been defended by the chief executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KF&RS).

Ann Millington said so far she had not seen any response to the proposal's public consultation that made her think about changing the original proposal.

She added: "In terms of the responses we're getting, unfortunately there is very little factual content."

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said closures would increase response times.

KF&RS aims to close fire stations at Sturry, Matfield, Horton Kirby, Halling, Rusthall, St Margaret's, Queenborough and Seal.

When asked on BBC Radio Kent if she had heard anything from the consultation so far that made her think about changing the original proposal, Ms Millington replied: "No I haven't."

She said: "What we've invited parish councillors and others to do is to write down really in depth what their evidence would be and either send it back to us in a letter with petition responses to it or fill in the questionnaire, and I'm afraid very few people are doing that."

'Woefully unprepared'

Ms Millington was criticised for not attending a public meeting on Friday organised by the Save Horton Kirby Fire Station Committee.

Ms Millington said no-one from KF&RS service went to the meeting because authority members had attended two public meetings in the area in November.

Colin Willson, a local resident and spokesman for the committee, said two authority members who went to a parish meeting in November were "woefully unprepared".

He said: "I asked them would they be prepared to attend another meeting where they could come with the answers we'd asked of them and more. They both agreed that they would if we gave them notice, which we did."

The closures are based on a three-year review by KF&RS, which says the number of incidents it attends has dropped by 25% since 2005.

The consultation is open until the 16 January.

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