My understanding is that from next week, the 3rd September the crews from the main Thanet Fire Station at Westwood Cross will move to Ramsgate and Margate Fire Stations and that the Westwood Cross Fire Station will no longer have ordinary fire engines or respond to callouts.
I think the idea is eventually to build a new main Thanet fire station somewhere in Ramsgate, and I had assumed that the existing Thanet Fire Station would remain as the main fire station until the replacement fire station had been built.
I contacted Kent Fire and Rescue’s headquarters at Maidstone and this is what they have to say.
“The first phase of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s project for the Isle of Thanet takes place on 3 September, when the crews from Thanet Fire Station will join stations at Margate and Ramsgate.
The move ensures a better availability of fire and rescue services across the area, increasing the number of appliances around the clock from three to four (two appliances at Margate and two at Ramsgate).
Thanet Fire Station will still house an aerial appliance while work continues to find a site for a new station at Ramsgate. It is planned that this will then accommodate all the specialist vehicles* and the crews from Ramsgate Fire Station which is over 100-years-old.
* Westwood Cross won’t be closing just yet as it is needed for the other special vehicles that are kept there: one that has equipment for ship fires; an hydraulic platform ladder and one that goes to big chemical incidents.
East Division Group Manager Russ Jordan said: “The safety of the people in Thanet has been at the heart of this process and the community will not notice any difference – we will still be there when they need us.
“We would like to thank staff for their help and support. We do appreciate that change is never easy and we are all looking forward to the next phase which will mean a new fit for purpose fire station for the area. We believe that these proposals will enable us to be in the best position for current and future risks in the region.”
Discussions are underway with local councils and landowners regarding potential new sites, we hope to give more information on this soon.
The decision to move from Thanet Fire Station was made in February after extensive public consultation and discussions with staff and unions, based on detailed data which shows that the resources at Thanet (Westwood Cross) station were not used in a way that best serves those that live in the area.
In the past five years (January 2005 to December 2009), their designated response area - or station ground - has seen 72 per cent fewer incidents than those of comparable stations elsewhere in the county. Much of the time, the fire engine at Thanet (Westwood Cross) is used to respond to emergencies within the designated area of Margate and Ramsgate fire stations.
Detailed analysis shows that appliances mobilised to incidents from Ramsgate and Margate can reach all of Thanet’s (Westwood Cross) fire ground, plus the overwhelming majority of each others areas, within KMFRA’s agreed attendance time standard of 10 minutes.”
**** ****| Head of Policy & Performance | Kent Fire & Rescue Service.
There have been several press items about this over the past year, like http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/news/2010/december/11/plan_to_cut_fire_service.aspx
The picture is of Margate Fire Station and firemen my guess is that it was taken around the time of WW1.
It does occur to me that there is no history of the Thanet Fire Station at Westwood Cross, I don’t even know when it was built or why it was thought necessary at the time. I will endeavour to get some pictures of it for historical record and would appreciate any information about it.
I will ramble on about this as I get time.