Harrogate Chamber of Trade in stinging rebuke to Fire Service over cuts

Fire at Prezzo
Fire at Prezzo

Harrogate Chamber of Trade has written to North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to oppose the proposed cuts to the service.

The authority plans to cut 43 frontline staff at six stations across North Yorkshire, with Harrogate, Tadcaster and Ripon all affected.

In Harrogate, the proposal is to reduce fire cover from two full size fire engines to one by replacing them with a Tactical Response Vehicle, in a move ‘strongly opposed’ by the chamber.

Chief Executive, Brian Dunsby, wrote to the authority to warn them a reduction in cover would ‘significantly increase’ the risk of a fire not being dealt with quickly and effectively.

In the letter, he said: “Harrogate town centre depends for its vitality on large number of tourism visitors, conference and exhibition delegates, etc, who frequently fill our large and small hotels, cafes and restaurants.

“All of which means there are often large numbers of people in confined spaces.

“Therefore, our fire and rescue requirements are totally different from a rural area with a few houses and a few farms, where a Tactical Response Vehicle might be adequate.”

The Chamber pointed to the fires at the Majestic Hotel and Prezzo in Albert Street in recent years to highlight the need to keep current full-time protection.

“Harrogate’s congested roads and many traffic lights are not compatible with ‘on-call’ firemen getting anywhere quickly,” Mr Dunsby said.

“So the first Fire Appliance to get to a fire should be fully operative and not have to wait for another vehicle or more crew.”

In its monthly meeting on October 12, all members of the Chamber were in support of the decision to oppose the proposed cuts from the authority.