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Southwark Fire Station closure threat: petition launched

A petition calling on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority not to close Southwark Fire Station has been launched.

Southwark Fire Station closure threat: petition launched
Southwark Fire Station and the Southwark Training Centre seen from the top of the Shard

The launch of the online petition follows the news that Southwark Fire Station is on a leaked list of 17 stations under threat of closure as the London Fire Brigade faces huge budget cuts.

On Monday James Cleverly AM, chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, visited two SE1 fire stations to discuss the proposed savings with firefighters.

Mr Cleverly visited Southwark Fire Station in Southwark Bridge Road and Lambeth Fire Station on Albert Embankment.

The Conservative London Assembly member wrote on Twitter that firefighters "would rather I protect firefighter and FRS [fire and rescue service] staff numbers than buildings".

Fire stations with a single fire engine – like Southwark – are particularly vulnerable under the proposed changes to fire cover in the capital.

At Southwark there is the additional attraction to the fire authority of being able to sell off the whole site – including the London Fire Brigade Museum and Southwark Training Centre – when firefighter training moves to new outer-London locations in 2015.

A document published by LFEPA this week revealed that "the Southwark Training Centre will be vacated and available for disposal by April 2015".

Speaking in a House of Commons debate last week, Labour MP Barry Gardiner accused Mayor of London Boris Johnson of a cynical manoeuvre to avoid scrutiny of the cuts.

"London Assembly members on the fire authority were originally set to debate the proposals at a meeting on 22 November, but the mayor has now said that the authority should defer this until after the local government finance settlement is known on 20 December," said Mr Gardiner on Friday.

"This means that the mayor will avoid any scrutiny and, in effect, bury the announcement in the Christmas holiday season so that no proper public debate can take place until after the middle of January, with the final decision being taken in March.

"I trust that the minister will regard this as reprehensible and make the necessary representations to the mayor’s office to ensure that such a cynical move is not carried out.

"The mayor has a public face of bonhomie and charm, but Londoners will not be fooled by such manipulation to stifle debate about their safety."

A London Fire Brigade spokesman reiterated the service's earlier insistence that full public consultation will be carried out before any decisions are made.

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