Knightsbridge and Westminster fires station turned off their sirens for the last time this morning after serving the community for more than a century.

The 106-year-old Basil Street station, 107-year-old Greycoat Place station and eight others across the capital closed after members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) approved plans in September last year to save £29 million through the Fifth London Safety Plan.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which represents more than 85 per cent of the UK’s fire and rescue staff, vehemently opposed the cuts, saying the closures will have a major impact on the standard of fire coverage in the borough, with the worst affected areas expected to be Mayfair, Belgravia, Pimlico, Knightsbridge and parts of Chelsea.

Kensington and Chelsea now has three fire stations to serve the entire borough and Westminster is left with two. Chelsea fire station was also under threat of losing one of its two fire engines but the council and FBU successfully fought to keep it as a matter of safety.

Joanna Gardner, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s community safety boss, said: “Whilst we opposed Knightsbridge’s closure, we sought the retention of a second fire engine at Chelsea fire station to help address its loss.

“We are grateful that the mayor has agreed to keep the second engine and the Fire Service’s assurances that the safety of our residents will not be compromised by the loss of Knightsbridge, as the remaining resources are adequate for all the reasonably foreseeable emergencies we may face.”


Nickie Aiken, Westminster City Council’s community protection boss, added: “We have always said that we don’t believe that Westminster’s station should close.

“We understand there are severe constraints on the capital’s budget but this is not a place to save money.

“With so many homes, offices, and businesses in the area – not to mention listed buildings – closing the Westminster station just doesn’t makes sense. We will be monitoring the impact very closely.”

The London FBU criticised Boris Johnson’s attempts to justify closing the 10 stations. Firefighters formally asked the Greater London Authority’s monitoring officer to investigate his behaviour.

The union’s regional secretary, Paul Embery, said: “Boris Johnson’s lies and disinformation have been so blatant that we believe he has brought the mayor’s office into disrepute.

“Beneath his bluster and his jokey style he has played fast and loose with the facts all the way through the consultation on the closure of London’s fire stations. The simple truth is that fire and rescue services will get to emergencies more slowly in the future because of his cuts.”

Despite this, LFEPA chairman James Cleverly said Londoners will continue to be safe and receive the fastest emergency response times in the world.

They aim to have a fire engine at a fire within six minutes and a second one, if needed, within eight. He said the brigade’s figures show the number of fires in London has fallen by 50 per cent in the past 10 years, and continues to fall at the same rate.

Fire stations left in Kensington and Chelsea:

  • Chelsea, in King’s Road
  • Kensington, in Kensington High Street
  • North Kensington, in Ladbroke Grove.

Fire stations left in Westminster:

  • Paddington, in Harrow Road
  • Soho, in Shaftesbury Avenue.