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New row erupts over Norfolk fire service consultation

By Lynn News Reporter

Up to 17 police and fire stations could be co-located if plans for Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner to take over fire service governance go ahead, it has emerged.

Opponents have slammed the idea, contained in a draft business case which is currently the subject of public consultation, and claimed residents are not being given the full picture of what is proposed.

But commissioner Lorne Green has repeated his insistance that no stations will shut if the plan goes ahead.

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green (2625842)
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green (2625842)

Residents were asked last month for their views on the idea of moving the governance of Norfolk’s fire service from Norfolk County Council to Mr Green’s office.

A draft business case, published at the time, suggested that such a switch could save taxpayers £10 million over a 10 year period, even after transitition costs have been met.

But the document’s recommended model of moving governance to the police commissioner’s office envisages that 17 station co-location projects would be completed by 2029.

County councillor Alexandra Kemp said: “That means 17 fire or police stations closed. It is there in black and white.

County councillor Alexandra Kemp has questioned the claims made during the current consultation on fire service governance
County councillor Alexandra Kemp has questioned the claims made during the current consultation on fire service governance

“So which stations are they? Will it be your local fire station or police station closing? The public has a right to know.

“But the business case doesn’t say which they are and it should, so the public can make an informed choice.”

However, Mr Green yesterday said he had not been involved in the development of the draft case and repeated his insistance there would be no service merger or compulsory redundancies.

He added: “I have said this publicly - there will not be a single fire station closure in the county of Norfolk.

“I have put it (the draft case) out for consultation. People shouldn’t take it as gospel.”

People have until September 5 to take part in the consultation.

Meanwhile, the Lynn and District Trades Council has announced it intends to launch its own campaign against the proposals, which they claim there is no mandate to pursue.

Activists will be in Lynn’s High Street this Sunday from noon to gather support for petitions against the scheme.

The GMB union has also added its voice to the criticism, describing the draft business case as “ill conceived and less than transparent.”

Regional organiser Ivan Mercer said: “Public safety deserves better than this. We are in full support of county councillors and the public in resisting these cuts.”

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