South Yorkshire fire authority votes to close stations

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Four fire stations are set to close with the loss of 145 firefighters to help cut £10m from South Yorkshire's fire authority budget.

Members voted to close stations in Darnall, Mansfield Road and Mosborough in Sheffield and Royston near Barnsley.

Two new stations will be built at Sheffield Parkway and Birley.

Edlington station will lose its retained crew "as soon as possible". The Fire Brigades Union is exploring the possibility of industrial action.

Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central, described the decision to close Royston station as "reckless".

He said: "This station provides an essential community service in Royston and surrounding areas.

"To suggest there will be no impact on public safety as a result of losing it is blatantly wrong."

'Public at risk'

Firefighters in South Yorkshire have been campaigning to prevent cuts to the service.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has placed an advert in a tabloid newspaper to highlight "the severity of the cuts" in the county.

Mick Taylor, FBU representative, said the move would leave members feeling "disappointed and let down".

"Once those posts have gone they can't be replaced," he said.

"We're now down to 700 operational firefighters and it's decreasing.

"When I joined there were over 1,000 firefighters. It's putting the public at risk."

Councillor Jim Andrews, chairman of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "We don't want to make these changes but we have no other option faced with such a huge reduction in our budget.

"We firmly believe that the proposals today will help us achieve the necessary savings whilst having the minimum impact on fire cover."

Royston will close on 31 December.

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