Tyne & Wear

Haydon Bridge fire station facing closure amid cuts

Haydon Bridge fire station
Image caption Haydon Bridge fire station could be closed in Northumberland County Council's latest round of cuts

A fire station in Northumberland is facing closure amid £500k budget cuts.

Northumberland County Council is planning to scrap Haydon Bridge station as well as downsizing West Harton Community Station.

Dave Ledger, chairman of the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Authority, said the council had "no choice" but to make the cuts.

The council also plans to scrap engines in Ponteland, Seahouses and Wooler and replace them with smaller appliances.

It has to save £500,000 on top of £1.5m cuts and has just finished a three-month consultation on its proposals.

The authority said a number of concerns had been raised, including how the county would cope in the face of further flooding when fire crews are called to help.

During the consultation it received three petitions, 84 online responses and 76 letters raising concerns over the plans, a spokesman said.

'No choice'

Mr Ledger, who is also the deputy Labour leader of Northumberland County Council, said: "To say I am concerned about the future is an understatement.

"We simply have no choice. The Government keeps saying we have choices - well I'd like them to tell us what the choices are."

The fire service has 88 full-time firefighters and 180 on-call officers in the county.

A full cabinet meeting will be held on 21 March when a final decision will be made.

Mr Ledger added: "Should the recommendation be approved, we will continue to have 21 emergency response vehicles and, through the introduction of smaller fire appliances, in some areas we will be able to increase the cover we provide."

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