CONSULTATION has now ended on proposed changes to Crewe’s fire brigade.

This week, Cheshire Fire and Rescue (CFRS) chiefs said they remained confident of continuing to protect Crewe and the wider area – despite having to make £6 million savings throughout the region.

CFRS will lose nine per cent Government funding in 2013-14, and a further six per cent the following year.

At a CFRS meeting on February 13, Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hancock, told colleagues the service would build new fire stations, keep the same number of fire engines, but bring in different staffing arrangements.

Crewe currently has two fire engines and other specialist vehicles providing 24 hour cover.

The brigade has seen an 8.7 per cent reduction in incident, with an average 2.14 calls per day – 63 per cent dealt with by one fire engine.

The brigade will soon learn what changes will be implemented from a range of options.

Those are: To remove the second fire engine, saving £800,000; replace it with a ‘midi’ engine used during busy periods, saving 750,000 or change how the second engine is crewed.

Crew changes would be changing from wholetime to on-call 24/7, saving £650,000 or change to a 12 hour day shift, saving £350,000.

The third crewing option would be to change to nucleus crewing (12 hour day shift and on-call at night), saving £200,000.

Countywide, CFRS will use a one-off £4.5 million Government grant to begin work on new fire stations in Lymm, Penketh, M53/56 interchange, Neston and Alsager.

Clr John Joyce, chair of the fire authority, said he believed the plans would ensure CFRS could ‘provide the first class fire and rescue service our communities deserve – and make efficiencies.’ He added: “To provide the wide range of safety and emergency response services we do for £1.30 a week for an average household represents good value for money.

“I'm also pleased that we do not intend closing any stations, nor do we expect to make any firefighters redundant.”