Windsor to keep full size fire engine

Windsor to keep full size fire engine

Francis Batt

Windsor to keep full size fire engine
People power has scored a victory in the battle to retain a full size fire engine in Windsor.
An explosion of public anger over plans to have a reduced size appliance in the town has led to a welcome rethink by the county fire authority.

This week Paul Southern, Berkshire Fire Authority's assistant chief officer, confirmed that a new action plan was being worked on that would keep a larger engine in Windsor.

The fight to keep any fire engine in the town has been a long one. The Fire Authority initially wanted to close Windsor fire station altogether, then at night.

A compromise solution brokered with the Royal Borough last year saw an agreement reached that would see the fire station at St Mark's Road sold off, while a small fire engine would be kept on a site provided by the borough in Tinkers Lane.

The Fire Brigades Union  was unhappy, insisting that a smaller engine would mean a reduced crew that could not deal with serious incidents.

These fears were strongly echoed in the public response to the new plan.

Fire Authority chief Mr Southern said: "This goes to show that consultation does work.

"The consultation responses showed that people wanted a larger appliance. This must not mean a budget change that would impact on services in the rest of the county, so we are working on an action plan for a larger appliance that will meet all requirements."

This will come as a relief to the ruling Conservatives on the Royal Borough, who staked their credibility on the deal they managed to broker to keep 24/7 cover within the town.

Council leader David Burbage is also a member of the Fire Authority. But he and his fellow Windsor members  are outnumbered on it by councillors from other parts of the county. They faced an uphill struggle in their fight to keep cover in the town.

He said: “Windsor has always had a regular fire appliance and a continuation of this is to be welcomed."

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