Nov 5 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
THE future of two out of the three fire stations in Brent is uncertain.
In a leaked document drawn up by London Fire Brigade, only Wembley Fire Station is on a ‘safe’ list of stations in the borough which will not be closed as part of planned cost saving measures.
London Fire Brigade insisted the leaked plans were proposals and no decisions had been made. Harlesden and Willesden are not on the list of proposed closures, but Labour councillors and the London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow claim they could be in danger of closure.
Brent Labour leader, Muhammed Butt, said: “If two of our three fire stations are closed, this will seriously endanger thousands of our residents. Everyone understands that times are tough, but you cannot put a price on a person’s life, which is exactly what the government is doing. This is yet another disgraceful example of the coalition’s clear disregard for people’s basic needs and rights.”
The proposed closure of 17 stations across London could save £65 million in two years, although 600 jobs across London could be lost.
Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow and Labour’s lead member on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said: “They are hitting front-line services and putting public safety at risk. The mayor needs to come clean on fire brigade cuts and tell Londoners what he is planning to close.”
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “Like virtually every other public service, the brigade is facing the need to make savings. There is a target for these savings but the full details will not be known until at least December, when the government announces its grant to the brigade. We expect to be able to maintain our current target response times.
“No decisions about any possible fire station closures have yet been taken. Before they are, there will be a full public consultation.”
A spokesman for City Hall said no decisions would be made until the budget was set at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year and even though there were a number of proposals, nothing concrete would be decided until there was a clear direction given by the budget.