Anger as firefight plan objections are ignored

PUBLISHED: 12:58 27 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

COUNCILLORS are angry that demands to prevent cuts to Royston firefighters were ignored. They were annoyed that despite opposition to the cuts and a 6,000-signature protest petition sent to Herts County Council the changes at Royston Fire Station were sti

COUNCILLORS are angry that demands to prevent cuts to Royston firefighters were ignored.

They were annoyed that despite opposition to the cuts and a 6,000-signature protest petition sent to Herts County Council the changes at Royston Fire Station were still approved.

"Everyone who attempted to prevent the cuts and changes in the firefighters pattern of work was simply ignored," said Cllr Fiona Hill at a meeting of Royston Town Council's finance and general purposes committee on Monday evening.

She said that despite protests from Royston's county councillor Doug Drake and support from Cllr Tony Hunter the county council still implemented a new scheme.

This meant the loss of two firefighters from Royston and for weekend cover to be left to retained firefighters.

The proposals in the county council's Community Safety Scheme were opposed, too, by members of the Royston committee of North Herts District Council and the town council.

"To say the least, the response to those who had opposed the plan was disappointing," said Cllr Hill.

Cllr Les Baker said the decision made a "mockery" of public consultation. "It gave the appearance that the plan was in place before anyone could make a legitimate comment," he said.

Meanwhile, chief fire officer Roy Wilsher has warned that there will be no support from the military to deal with emergencies should the firefighters take strike action.

Members of the Fire Brigades' Union in the county are being balloted on whether to take strike action. The result will be announced in two weeks' time.

Mr Wilsher said in a statement on Tuesday: "There will be no back up, just a limited number of front-line staff deployed according to need."

He said that during a period of strike action the fire service would not be performing a number of its range of tasks such as making safety checks.

He insisted that the plan produced created "a concrete set of proposals to safeguard the county now and in the future".

Mr Wilsher added: "There will be no further changes. We have been open and honest about our plans from the start of our consultation.

"Our community safety plan will not compromise safety - strike action will.

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