Response from Ruth George MP to Consultation on Buxton Aerial Ladder Platform

As MP for High Peak, I call on Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service to retain the Aerial Ladder Platform fire engine based at Buxton Fire Station.

There are many large older buildings in the Buxton area, including many that are open to the public.

Whilst they are not in excess of 6 storeys, the ALP vehicle would help ensure any fire is dealt with quickly, which is important to both best preserve life, and also our historic buildings.

I list below responses from several owners of major buildings in Buxton who have significant concerns about the proposed removal of the ALP:

  • Buxton Opera House is a listed building of international architectural significance, a vital asset to Buxton’s heritage and cultural resources, with a high auditorium ceiling and wooden supports. Any fire would need to be extinguished promptly to prevent is spreading.  The theatre has 902 seats and can hold over 1,000 people.  The Pavilion Arts Theatre and Octagon are also high public buildings with wooden supports.
  • HSE Health & Safety Laboratory is workplace for around 450 staff, in a large and densely packed site which would require an ALP to reach the centre. Some materials stored at the Lab are explosive and any fire would need to be extinguished as rapidly as possible.
  • Trevor Osborne, Developer of The Crescent which has cost millions to restore and will become a hotel and spa complex. Any fire would need to extinguished rapidly to prevent damage.
  • Howard Town Mill in Glossop is a 6 storey building with 52 residential apartments and a Travelodge Hotel which technically would require an ALP. Glossop is almost an hour from Chesterfield, even with no traffic.

The University of Derby also have significant concerns about their Buxton campus at the Devonshire Dome, another historic building with a complicated and high structure which often contains several hundred students.

These are just a small sample of the many older buildings of several storeys in Buxton and the surrounding area, including Houses of Multiple Occupation, care homes, and hotels, at all of which the ALP could be of considerable assistance.

Considering these responses and that the engine has low maintenance costs, averaging just over £5,000 a year over the last 5 years, an excellent service record, and has relatively low mileage for such a vehicle, I urge DFRS to accept the offer to purchase the vehicle off-lease for just £3,000 and to keep it at Buxton Fire Station.

This seems a low-cost solution to retain a vehicle which is needed for such an area as Buxton and could be extremely valuable in saving life and our historic buildings.

Ruth George MP, Member of Parliament for High Peak