Public consultation held at under-threat Wargrave Fire Station

Cost-cutting measures which could see Wargrave Fire Station close have been met with a mixed response at a public consultation.

Central government cuts mean Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service needs to make savings of £2.4m by April 2020.

Closing Wargrave's station is just one of several options open to the public as RBFRS looks to save £1.4m from on-station services and another £1m through restructuring.

The plans received mixed views from residents on Thursday at a public consultation at the station.

Matt Piercy, 18, of Highfield Park said: "It's important to me for the station to stay open as my uncle is the commander and his father was before him.

"Its a shame, plus I don't think the response times from the next nearest station are quick enough.

"I've applied to work there myself so hopefully it can be saved."

Jill Whyatt from Victoria Road said: "I'm concerned.

"To have a local presence is invaluable."

Sue Griffiths, of School Lane said: "Your instinct is to keep it but if they can't guarantee response times then I'm not so sure."

While Christine Walker, 71, of Ridgeway added: "We're very proud of our station and their presence in the community.

"It will be a sad day if it closes."

While some were far less pleased about the idea.

One resident, who didn't to be named, said: "It's an outrage.

"It's a public service not something to save money in."

Jim Powell, group manager for risk and performance said: "It's important to have this conversation with people in the community.

"We have all the facts but we need to get the emotional side across."

Jim explained that the service will aim to do more in prevention and protection, and was proud of the fact RBFRS had reduced the total number of fires in Royal Berkshire by 30 per cent since 2010.

"We need to build on that and target those people that are more likely to have a fire", Jim added.

As Wargrave is only a retained station, most fires are dealt with by full time crews from Maidenhead and Reading anyway.

Retainment support officer John Murphy added: "The consultation process has actually been good for recruitment."

There will be another consultation event on Sunday, February 19 while the consultation itself closes on March 13.


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