12:00PM, Thursday 16 January 2020
A fire station in Wargrave could be closing its doors for good in July unless funding is found and availability targets are met.
Wargrave Fire Station was first earmarked for closure in April 2017 after members of the Royal Berkshire Authority (RBFA) unanimously voted to close it down following public consultation and finding that it needed to make savings.
The closure has been deferred twice since then, and now a recommendation has been made to the RBFA, which is set to meet on Monday, that the ‘deferral period be extended to June 2020.’
The recommendation, which is set to be discussed at an extraordinary meeting, states that the period would be extended to allow for a ‘further feasibility study’, into the potential to have a ‘community safety hub’ at the station site.
Alongside the hub, which would be developed in collaboration with Wargrave Parish Council and Wokingham Borough Council (WBC), the extension would also give the crew additional time to reach availability targets.
But, as stated in the meeting documents, if the funding isn’t found and availability targets are not reached, the initial decision to close the station will be implemented from July 1.
Papers presented to the RBFA management committee state: “Early conversations with blue light partners and both Wokingham Borough Council and Wargrave Parish Council have shown that a significant appetite exists to explore the feasibility of this option.
“Although the financial feasibility of such an innovative model has not been fully explored, consideration in principle has been agreed.
“It is therefore proposed that officers will work with Wokingham Borough Council, Wargrave Parish Council and our blue light partners to complete a feasibility study into a community safety hub
focused on collaboration, prevention and community engagement.
“Following feasibility work a report will be brought back to the authority in summer 2020 for consideration.”
The meeting is set to take place from 6.30pm at RBFRS headquarters in Reading.
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