REVELATIONS that Bolton North and Bolton Central fire stations could be closed to save money have met with a furious reaction by Bolton News readers.

The plans to close the two stations and replace them with one new station for the entire town are part a drive to save £12.8m over the next three years.

Writing on the Bolton News Facebook page, reader Ian Edmundson asked: “How can they close fire stations? They are essential.”

Victoria Byrne added: “You have got to be kidding! This is peoples lives we’re messing with!”

An angry Olubunmi Babalola wrote: “Next we’ll be given a trough of water on every street corner and 30 buckets for your neighbours to form a line.

“This is a joke, more money is needed for firefighters not less. I wonder whose areas will be hit hardest, the poorest or richest?”

Further proposals include reducing staffing levels to four firefighters on all engines. Under the current system, there are often five crew members on the first engine to arrive at an incident.

The news prompted Pauline Powell to write: “Our council tax has just been raised and yet cuts to what it pays for.”

And Hussain Mohammad wrote: “Guys do something we want our Fire Station.”

Former firefighter Dave Darby wrote that firefighters had warned the public that such plans would become a reality as long ago as 2002.

He said: “In 2005/6 you were warned that the new Fire Safety Bill would put you the public at risk, what did you do ? Ignored it once again and sadly we saw the inferno that would claim over 70 lives in London. And now here we are in 2019 in a country that claims to be the fifth richest in the world making more cuts to our public services and only now are the public waking up, now it is too late.”

Mr Darby added: “Thank goodness I am no longer part of the decimation of the UK Fire Service.”

A public consultation will be held about the proposals which follow a review of the brigade ordered by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, last year.

According to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) the changes would only have a ten-second impact on response time.