Sutton fire station public meeting

A public meeting organised by Sutton Parish Council this evening was an opportunity to put questions to Cambridgeshire fire chiefs about proposals to close three fire stations in the county, including Sutton’s.

Jon Anderson, Stuart Smith, and Nev Burgess from the local fire service were on hand to answer questions from the thirty or so residents who turned out to The Glebe.

They laid out the challenge of recruiting the on-call firefighters needed to keep the Sutton station open, especially for daytime duties. Indeed, a few years ago Sutton’s fire station was closed for eighteen months as only two firefighters were available. (I have asked for data from that period, to see what effect the closure had had.)

As many as 85 per cent of calls in the Sutton area were already answered by crews outside the village, from Ely, Cottenham, Chatteris and elsewhere.

Comments and questions from the public included whether the fire service had been sufficiently active in attempting to recruit—the risk to the Sutton station had come as a surprise to many people. There was discussion about the attractiveness of the package offered to on-call firefighters and whether it could be made more flexible. Recruits had to be at least eighteen years of age, but there was no upper limit provided they could pass the fitness test.

No decision has yet been made, and the fire service will be carrying out a programme of public engagement in the coming months.

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