Basildon fire station could be axed and replaced with two smaller out of town sites under radical new plans.

The county’s chief fire officer David Johnson outlined proposals to shelve Basildon’s current central fire station - in Great Oaks - instead replacing it with two smaller stations on industrial areas.

He has vowed the move would not mean the number of firefighters or engines would be cut, but would instead “give the public what it needs” and speed up response times.

Under the plans, the station would be replaced with one in the north of Basildon and another in the south of the town.

Mr Johnson claimed that, as well as improving response times, the changes would allow the service to cut costs without cutting crew or the number of fire engines.

Mr Johnson said his only concerns relate to funding and the ability to find appropriate sites.

The fire service has already saved £4.7million but may be asked to cut another £5million a year - from its £77million budget - after the Government’s next spending review announcement in December.