UP to 60 firefighter posts and a station could be closed as Cleveland Fire Brigade propose savage spending cuts.

The brigade is looking to close Middlesbrough’s Marine station and transfer the engine to Stockton with the loss 20 full time roles.

The six-week public consultation is also recommending scrapping 76 full time jobs at several secondary stations and replacing them with 60 on-call firefighters.

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Another changes that could come into force will be a reduction in specialist services and carrying out a full structural review of the brigade.

And union bosses fear the savage cuts will result in greater risk for members of the public and firefighters.

Dave Howe, branch secretary of Cleveland FBU, said: “We believe that slower turn out times, less people working for the organisation and a reduction of fire prevention community services will lead to the lives of the public and firefighters being put at more risk.

“We intend to fight hard to stop these changes coming into force as the brigade is faced with less and less funding year on year as the government slashed funding.”

Councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of Cleveland Fire Authority, accepts the changes will have an impact on services but maintains their hands are tied by funding cuts.

He said: “The reality of the situation is that we will have fewer firefighters staffing fewer fire engines and we may even have to close a fire station. Our Fire Service will not be the same as it is now and we know that some fire engines may take longer to reach some incidents.

“We accept that no-one will be happy about this, not least ourselves but we believe we have no other choice as the Authority must address the Government imposed £6 million grant reduction over the next four years.”

A series of consultation meetings will be held across the area, where fire service officers will be giving presentations summarising the proposals.

Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton said: “The Community Plan sets out the authority’s approach to managing risk. What we are doing to protect people, buildings and the natural environment from fire and other emergencies; how we will continue to deliver our excellent services effectively and efficiently; and how we will achieve the appropriate balance between risk and the shrinking resources available to us.”

For more information regarding the consultation process, please visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/haveyoursay