THOUSANDS of people in the east of Sheffield will benefit from the two new fire stations that will be built by 2015 - but some residents are unconvinced by the logic of the changes.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service aims to attend 80 per cent of life-threatening fires within six minutes - but at the moment swathes of land in the east of the city fall outside the target.
The new stations in Birley and on the Parkway will be closer to residents living in Handsworth, Woodhouse, Tinsley and parts of Darnall, Hackenthorpe and Owlthorpe.
Irene Foster, aged 83, of Ballifield Avenue, Handsworth, is one of the residents who will benefit.
The retired postal worker and great-grandmother of four said: “If it really is going to make us safer I support the idea. But I don’t see why they have to make so many job cuts. Can’t they take the firemen from Darnall and Mansfield Road and put them in Birley?
“There are enough people out of work at the moment - we certainly don’t need more.
“They say they won’t make compulsory redundancies and I hope they stick to that.”
Parts of Hackenthorpe are also currently on the edge of the six-minute zone.
Barbara Stapleton, 56, of Westfield Avenue, Hackenthorpe, a cleaning supervisor at Peaks College, said: “I don’t understand why they have to close three perfectly good fire stations and open two new ones.
“If something’s working why change it? I haven’t heard of a single instance where there’s been a fire and the fire crews haven’t got there in time.
“Yes, the new station may be closer to my house, but there’s already one on Mansfield Road which is not far away.
“Of course it would be good to get a new station - I wish we could have a new station in every part of Sheffield.
“But these are hard times and I would much rather they saved all those jobs than built new stations.”
Christine Cox, 63, of Carr Forge Lane, Hackenthorpe, said: “If we’re getting a new station in Birley, with new equipment, it sounds like it will make us much safer.
“It will be very close to my house, so that sounds like a good thing.
“But you have to think of the whole city - it’s good that it’s going to make me safer, but if they’re cutting jobs will that make other people less safe?
“And it sounds like they are cutting so many.”
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield is concerned about the impact of the job cuts: “I have full confidence in the ability of our firefighters to do their jobs, but I am clearly worried about the impact on the service. This has been forced on the fire authority by reductions in government spending, which have come too far and too fast.”