Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Thanet Fire Station Closure

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.

Dear Michael

“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.”

Best regards

**** ****| 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.   


  1. I've been racking my brains trying to think of a site in Ramsgate for the new station. The best I can think of would be the old gas works on Boundary Road. Pretty central and on a main thoroughfare.
    Otherwise there's The Centre in Newington - not central to Ramsgate but certainly ...erm...appropriate ?

  2. Oh, and of course the site at Westwood will be Prime Retail land maybe? The Ramsgate Fire station is listed, and Margate is on the site of an old convent, and has difficult covenants attached to the land! see why they want to get rid of westwood.... More money for the chiefs!

  3. Retail land,of course!

  4. Michael, your blog heading is strangely negative. 'Increased fire cover' or '21st century station to be built' might have given a more positive image.

    There's no sense in commenting on the 'selling the stations is money for the chiefs' rubbish but as a well-read (and well-respected)blogger you might be unwittingly setting the negative tone you so often abhor.

  5. 16:32
    All of Michael's blogs are negative, I just hope my house doesn't catch fire during the document hunt following his usual FOI request...

  6. Makes sense really, Westwood X is usually gridlocked and would have difficulty getting out of there on a Saturday am.

    Ramsgate Station is well past it's use-by date so somewhere with easier access is needed. Perhaps the old Invicta Motors on Grange Road (unless that is build on now?)

  7. 19.37
    It was Caffyns not Invicta motors.

  8. RossM, I notice that they say they have been discussing this with local councils, so it could even be one of Ramsgate’s car parks, I doubt somehow it will be the Eurokent site.

    15.28 I don’t think it is the fire chiefs who get the money.

    16.32 This wasn’t meant to be a either a negative or a positive post, and I suppose it would have been headed something like, 'Increased fire cover' or '21st century station to be built' if the new fire station had been built or even started.

    16.36 You were quick off the mark there, this one didn’t need a foi request they replied promptly to something that I presume local people want to know about.

    19.37 20.23 with the three specialist vehicles and presumably some sort of area for them to do their training exercises in, it will have to be a pretty large site.

    As I said in the post I would like to put together some historical notes on the Westwood Station and would appreciate any information that anyone has about it.

  9. thanet fire station was opened on friday 30th march 1973 to replace the broadstairs fire station in st peter's park road which now has broadstairs library in its place.it was built also to house the turntable ladder from margate's old king street fire station.
    the building was designed by the tulley-brown partnership of margate,in association with the county architect,eric hains. the general contractor was richard bostock limited of canterbury,and the cost of the project was approximately £96,000.


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