The draft plan earmarks two Lewisham stations for closure: New Cross in my Lewisham Deptford constituency and Downham in Lewisham East. The proposed loss of 64 firefighters from these two stations amounts to a 30% reduction in Lewisham borough. Overall the plan proposes the loss of 520 officers across London – the 64 in Lewisham accounts for 12.3%. The impact on Lewisham is therefore substantial and disproportionate as a whole across London.
If Downham and New Cross fire stations were to close the average time taken for appliances to reach an area would increase by an average 31 seconds, with Telegraph Hill Ward (in which New Cross Fire Station is situated) seeing an increase from 5.15 to 7.24 minutes. A domestic fire can quadruple in intensity in just two minutes so increases of this level are incredibly worrying.
Local fire crews also respond to calls from outside Lewisham so these closures would have a knock on effect on other London boroughs, particularly Southwark, which is already set to lose one of its own stations. Likewise the closure of Southwark, Westminster and Woolwich will impact on Lewisham’s coverage.
I am extremely concerned about the fire service’s ability to respond to major incidents if the volume of closures goes ahead as planned.
Our Fire Officers provide a great service to the community – not just through responding to emergency calls, but also in assisting people with fire prevention and carrying out safety inspections.
Whilst I appreciate that economies have to be made in these difficult times I am not satisfied that my constituents’ lives will not be put at risk when all these proposals are taken together. Thus I cannot support these plans.
You can read my consultation response in full here.