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Fire chiefs vote to axe Buxton's aerial ladder platform

The aerial ladder platform at Buxton Fire Station. Photo: Jason Chadwick.
The aerial ladder platform at Buxton Fire Station. Photo: Jason Chadwick.

Fire authority chiefs have controversially decided to withdraw the High Peak's only aerial ladder platform from service.

Members of Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Authority agreed at a meeting on Thursday to axe the ALP from Buxton fire station and to also remove the water rescue units from Chesterfield and Matlock.

The decision comes after a review of specialist response provision across the county, and follows a six-week public consultation in respect of the three proposals.

In his report to members, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Gavin Tomlinson said: “The review of the specialist response provision for Derbyshire has been carried out in line with the service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan 2017-21 and calls for a decision based on the authority’s responsibility to provide an efficient and effective service to Derbyshire communities.

"The review and proposals put forward for decision today are also based on a risk based, intelligence led approach.”

The service said it would maintain two ALP appliances across the county alongside "normal support arrangements with neighbouring fire and rescue services, for over border assistance if required".

It added that the water rescue equipment from Chesterfield and Matlock would be retained and training given for personnel to operate on a 'water first responder' basis from stations across the county.

Over 600 people signed a petition calling for the Buxton ALP to be retained, as part of a campaign led by High Peak MP Ruth George.

Writing in her Advertiser column ahead of Thursday's meeting, she reiterated calls for the service to consider an alternative option of purchasing the leased Buxton ALP outright for £3,000 and keeping it in operational use "for as long as it is cost effective to so so".

"The alternative of the Chesterfield ALP takes 45 minutes to Buxton or 60 to New Mills, so it has to be worth it for the safety of people in all our tall buildings," she said.

Mrs George had previously highlighted the need for the specialist ladder appliance in the High Peak.

"High Peak contains significant numbers of tall, old and complicated buildings," she said. "Several of these including the opera house, university, Crescent and HSE wrote to request that the ALP be kept.

"These buildings, together with our many three-storey care homes and converted mills in Glossop, can include hundreds of people and an ALP can contribute to their safety."