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Three Norfolk towns to keep fire engines 'for now'

PUBLISHED: 11:37 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:38 23 July 2019

Fakenham's fire fighters with the two engines they are set to keep PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Fakenham's fire fighters with the two engines they are set to keep PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

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Three Norfolk towns which had been threatened with losing fire engines are to keep them.

Crowds listening to Lorne Green at the community centre PICTURE: Matthew FarmerCrowds listening to Lorne Green at the community centre PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service had said it was removing one of two applicances at Fakenham and also engines at Wymondham and Diss. They were going to be replaced with smaller 4x4 vehicles.

But at a public consultation evening in Fakenham - hosted by police and crime commissioner Lorne Green and attended by police and fire chiefs - it was announced that the decision had been changed.

Clive Wells, who manages the eastern fire district, including Fakenham and the north Norfolk coast, said: "In the last week, the decision to remove the second appliance from Fakenham has been put away for now. We are doing a review of the appliances, and the 4x4 will still go to Fakenham."

The meeting heard the same decision will keep fire engines at Wymondham and Diss, where they will be joined by the modified Toyota Hiluxs.

Fire cadets from Wymondham handing out information at the event PICTURE: Matthew FarmerFire cadets from Wymondham handing out information at the event PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

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The engines will be kept until the end of their working lives, though for one of Fakenham's engines this is 18 months away.

Cromer district councillor Tim Adams repeated his concerns on the role of the fire engines,

Margaret Dewsbury, county councillor with responsibility for the fire service, said: "It won't cost us any more to keep the larger vehicles there as well. We're going to give 12 to 18 months so firefighters can decide which units are used for what."

A fire service drone on display at the public consulation evening PICTURE: Matthew FarmerA fire service drone on display at the public consulation evening PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Mr Adams also asked if the decision meant fire engines at the station would be replaced like-for-like. Mrs Dewsbury replied by saying a lot of money had recently been used in buying new equipment.

Chief fire office Stuart Ruff said decisions would be made at the end of the fire engine's 15-year cycle.

He said: "We decide where our appliances will be based on our integrated risk management plans (IRMPs), which look at the risks that exist and our ability to respond to it. Fire engines are looked at on a 15 year cycle, and eight of our engines will be going to tender in December."

Head of Fakenham's fire service, Gary Thorpe, said "We are comfortable with how things have gone. Nothing is set in stone. We're retaining both engines, which can only be for the greater good of the community, and we are going to get a voice in the role they play."

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