Independent councillors’ delight as Wisbech Fire Station avoids the axe

WISBECH’S newest independent councillors have expressed their delight after the town’s fire station avoided the axe in a wave of sweeping cuts.

Fenland District Councillors Virginia and Michael Bucknor, who gained seats in Waterlees during this month’s election, had pledged to fight to ensure Wisbech Fire Station stayed open as part of their campaign.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service revealed a list of proposed cuts yesterday in an effort to trim more than �4 million off dwindling budgets.

Amongst the proposed cost-cutting measures was the closure of Manea Fire Station to save �80,000 and the removal of appliances from St Ives, Ramsey, Soham, Ely, Burwell, Thorney and Gamblingay.

It was proposed that both turntable ladders - stationed at Dogsthorpe and Cambridge - should be removed from service as should one Rescue Vehicle, one Hazardous Material Unit and the Operational Support Unit.

But the only proposed change to Wisbech Fire Station is alterations to the rota system - which, it is hoped, will improve the level of cover in the town.

Councillor Virginia Bucknor said: “During our election campaign we pledged to fight to ensure that Wisbech Fire Station did not come under the axe.

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“Whilst we can take no personal credit, the good news for Wisbech and the surrounding villages is that the proposed new shift system should actually enhance the cover.

“Whilst the heavy financial cuts are being placed on many of our services, we are pleased that, for a change, Wisbech has not been the target and our fire station’s near-term future remains safe.

“However this has also been a bad news week for Wisbech with the proposed loss of over 40 staff at the Isle College, the 14 staff at the children’s home and the redundancies at the Tourist Information Centre, so the fight goes on.”

The proposed cutbacks to the county’s fire service are set to be discussed next Thursday.