A SENIOR firefighter who strongly opposed plans for a new station took a top job as station manager of the controversial base when it opened yesterday.
Rick Rolt warned four years ago that sacrificing bases in Mexborough and Brampton in favour of a new build at Manvers was “part of the long and steady process of eroding community facilities.”
Speaking at the height of a fervent opposition campaign—in which a 15,000-signature petition was handed to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue—he told the Advertiser that he was against the controversial proposals.
Was Mr Rolt right to take the job as manager of the new Manvers Fire Station when he was so opposed to it being built? Use the "write a comment" button to add your view or click here to leave your comment.
But this week Mr Rolt, who has more than 25 years’ experience with the fire service, began his duties overseeing the day-to-day management of the flagship £4 million Dearne fire station.
Back in February 2006, when he was a crew manager at Edlington fire station and chairman of the Doncaster Green Party, Mr Rolt said: “There’s bitter irony in the fact that this decision will result in the closure of two fire stations that are located slap-bang in the heart of housing estates, to be replaced by a single, more remote station on an industrial estate.
“Sticking the word community at the front of the new station hardly glosses over the fact that the proposed location will be far less easily accessible to many members of the community.”
Mr Rolt played down the turnaround in his position this week, saying that it would be different if he was an elected official.
“I think the situation is that everyone has personal views, but you work for an organisation and see both sides of a story,” he said. “When a decision is made, you support it 100 per cent and make sure you provide the best possible service for the community.
“All the changes in SYFR go through the Integrated Risk Management Plan consultation phase. All the information and facts are weighted up and a decision taken.
VIDEO: Look behind the scenes of new station.
“ As an employee of SYFR I support that 100 per cent.”
He added: “The past is the past. The facility here is fantastic, better than anything we could have offered in the past.
“The big positives include the recruitment of retained firefighters by the service.
“There was a concern that we were moving away from the community, but this recruitment drive is a fantastic way of addressing this concern.”
Mr Rolt said that he had always enjoyed a great relationship with the press while working in Doncaster, but the Advertiser could expect no co-operation other than the professional minimum—by running this story.
He declined to comment on whether he was still involved with the Green Party.