ANGRY campaigners have launched a petition in a bid to scrap proposals to cut the fire service – with protesters aiming for 50,000 signatures.
An online petition has been created by desperate residents aiming to dowse proposals to close fire stations in Worcestershire.
As your Worcester News revealed last week, the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is to cut £4.7 million from spending over the next three years.
About 140 jobs are at risk, and in Worcester it could mean losing one of the station’s two full-time fire engine crews, leaving only a single full-time crew as a first instance response.
Chris Edwards, aged 24, from ‘Save Your Local Fire Service’, said: “There is talk of closing fire stations and cutting engines and I think it’s very extreme.
“I grew up in Bewdley in my childhood and that is just one area where they are looking at closing the station. We’ve got to fight this.
“The options they are looking at are ridiculous. We’ve got to show them people across Worcestershire and Herefordshire don’t want it.”
Since the campaigners launched the website on Sunday, more than 120 people have signed the document and they are aiming for 50,000 by the time the consultation closes in January. The launch came just days after a similar protest started on Facebook on behalf of retained firefighters in Evesham. A ‘Save Evesham Retained Firefighters’ page has received 900 ‘likes’ on the social networking site.
The fire service is considering closing stations in Bewdley and Broadway, and removing on-call engines in Kidderminster, Evesham and Redditch.
Bosses at the fire service say they understand the concerns, and are keen to get feedback during the current consultation period.
Assistant chief fire officer, John Hodges, said: “The service is well aware that some online groups and petitions have been formed over recent days and we completely understand community concerns over potential changes to their fire cover.
“That is why we are undertaking such an extensive consultation process, with all our key stakeholders, between now and the new year.
“The fire authority is very keen to hear everyone’s views during this consultation process and I would encourage as many people as possible to complete the community risk management plan questionnaire which can be viewed at hwfire.org.uk/consultation.”
To see the online petition visit ipetitions.com/petition/ stophwfirecuts and to view the Evesham retained firefighters protest, log onto facebook. com/www.hwfire.org.uk.