The closure of Bushey fire station was announced yesterday, despite strong opposition from local residents.

Hertfordshire County Council confirmed the part time fire station in Rudolph Road will close on March 31, 2014.

The closure was confirmed as part of the Integrated Risk Management Plan, which sets out what resources the fire and rescue service needs and where they need to be to provide comprehensive cover to the county.

The council said in a statement: "Since the relocation of Watford Fire Station in 2009, it's quicker to send the full time fire engines from Watford to incidents in Bushey than to call in the part time crew to Bushey Fire Station then send them to the incident."

The planned closure was announced in July and met opposition from locals who said closing the station would be "shameful" and "jeopardise whole communities".

Dozens of residents attended a forum in September, organised by Save Bushey Fire Station Community Action Group, and a petition was set up receiving more than 400 signatures.

Sarah Turnbull, head of the campaign, said: "We are sad that the decision has been made to close the fire station.

"We would like to thank everyone involved in the campaign to try and save it and most importantly our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the fire fighters at the station for their hard work, commitment and contribution to the local Bushey community over the years."

Hertsmere’s MP, James Clappison, spoke at the meeting in September, saying he thought some important questions need to be answered to ensure the capability of fire fighters in the borough and county are not hindered.

Mr Clappison said: "I’m very concerned about the capability we have for firefighters in Hertsmere and Hertfordshire on the whole."

Between April 2012 and March 2013, Bushey firefighters attended 11 emergency calls, five of which were fires.

Peter Wilson, a firefighter at Bushey Fire Station, said the council had never given the station a real chance and had made staffing the station difficult.

He said: "We need more fire stations not less. I can’t see how any area would be safer without a fire station."

However, the council decided to close the station despite knowing that it won’t be a popular decision.

Richard Thake, cabinet member for community safety, said: "I know this won’t be a popular decision locally, and it’s not one we’ve made lightly.

"It comes on the back of a comprehensive review of what kind of incidents the fire and rescue service is called to, where they are and when they happen.

"I am confident that the closure won’t affect the safety of residents or businesses in Bushey, who will still be protected by highly-skilled crews from Watford and other nearby stations.

"The response times and level of cover will remain high and the fire and rescue service will be able to respond to incidents in Bushey quickly and appropriately."

John Mills, deputy chief fire officer for Hertfordshire, said: "Senior officers from the Hertfordshire fire and rescue service continue to meet with the seven retained firefighters who are currently based at Bushey Fire Station.

"People in the Bushey area should be reassured that they have very effective 24 hour emergency cover provided by full-time fire crews based at Watford Fire Station who along with full-time fire crews from Garston Fire Station, will continue provide proactive community safety advice, education and safety information to all areas of Bushey."