Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service must make £5.1m savings over the next four years but is investing in four new stations across the county as well as a safety centre.
The service says having the new stations in the best locations, including being able to deal with motorway incidents, will lead to a better use of resources.
That’s one of the reasons why the Mollington station, which includes five bays and a training tower, is located near the M56.
But campaigners were against the station’s green belt location saying it did not meet the ‘very special circumstances’ test and simply represents a cut in the number of full-time engines covering Chester and Ellesmere Port from four to three.
Under the plans, Chester and Ellesmere Port will have just one full-time engine each instead of two now, with a back-up pump at the new hub. There will also be an ‘on call’ fire engine at Ellesmere Port.
Cheshire Fire Brigades Union is concerned this is spreading fire cover ‘a little thinner’ because many house fires and motorway incidents require a minimum two fire engines for safe working so they worry the new arrangement could lead to delays in the arrival of the second appliance.
Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service hopes the new fire station at Powey Lane, Mollington, will be completed towards the end of October 2016 and be operational by the end of the year. Rumours about the possible redevelopment of the main Chester Fire Station in St Anne Street have been dismissed.
Cheshire chief fire officer Paul Hancock said recently: “I am delighted that despite the fact the authority is facing ongoing financial cuts, it has still agreed to invest in our frontline response and instead of closing stations, fund more.
“There are still big challenges ahead but the commitment to protecting local communities, reducing risk and maintaining firefighters’ safety is paramount. That is ensuring that the overall number of fires in Cheshire continues to decline while injuries in accidental house fires remain at their lowest ever level.”