Fire chiefs warned of safety impacts of downgrading Hebburn Fire Station

Fire chiefs have been warned about the potential impacts of downgrading Hebburn Fire Station.

Plans unveiled this morning could see the station, in Victoria Road West, manned by a part-time crew.

Hebburn Fire Station.

Hebburn Fire Station.

And this would only be in place during the day, meaning evening cover would be provided by firefighters based in South Shields.

“I think any downgrading in any public service is a disservice to the public,” said Hebburn councillor John McCabe, who has blasted previous plans to cut the number of firefighters in the town.

“I know they have got [problems of] resources and the limits they’re in, but at the end of the day we’re talking about public safety and that should be the priority.”

The plan has been suggested as part of a package of reforms to save more than £3million.

A similar change is proposed for Wallsend, with Tynemouth expected to pick up the slack.

A heavy rescue appliance also based at Hebburn could also be relocated to South Shields.

Russ King, of the Fire Brigades Union said: “This downgrading of the appliances at Wallsend and Hebburn will cause major issues in the area.

“Wallsend and Hebburn have got 24-seven staffing with one appliance each.

“At a certain time, the appliance will go off and the firefighters will go home and they will provide cover from Tynemouth and South Shields instead.”

On-call firefighters currently staff Chopwell Fire Station which has seen just 55 reported incidents in the last five years.

During the same period there were 727 at Hebburn and 1,082 at South Shields.

A report to the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority also revealed a manager has been appointed to oversee a project to replace Hebburn Fire Station.

A feasibility study to look at potential new sites is ongoing.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service