The Wokingham Paper

Wargrave Fire Station to close to help save £1.3 million

Fire sign

WARGRAVE fire station is to be closed despite crews improving their response rate over the past year.

The on-call station will be mothballed in a bid to save £1.3 million.

Plans to close the station were first mooted in 2017, but were deferred and it was hoped that the necessary savings would be found by making cuts elsewhere. And the firefighters who serve from Wargrave were asked to demonstrate an increased availability.

But Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said that despite the stay of execution and the best efforts of the community, the authority and the service, neither of the two criteria were met.

A consultation is to take place with staff, and all will be offered an alternative role in the service.

The fire authority’s chairman, Colin Dudley, said in a statement that he wanted to reassure Wargrave residents that they will continue to receive a high-quality service.

He added: “For many years now almost all incidents in Wargrave have been attended by crews from our whole-time stations at Wokingham Road and Maidenhead. Of the 42 incidents that have occurred in and around Wargrave, the Wargrave fire engine responded to one.

“Even when the Wargrave appliance was available, it was very likely that the whole-time appliances from the other fire stations could still be the first to arrive. This is due to the fact that whole time stations are crewed 24/7 and immediately available to go out on blue lights.”

Wargrave’s on-call crews had to live and work within seven minutes of the station, and there needed to be at least four firefighters in attendance to send out the truck.

“Our commitment is to reach 75% of the incidents we are called to across the county within 10 minutes of the initial phone call. 

“We have seen a significant improvement in our performance against this standard across the whole county over the past 12 months.

“I want to thank the local community, local teams and everyone who has tried so hard to make Wargrave a viable response fire station.

“ Unfortunately, it is no longer practical to use our limited public funds to try to keep such a limited response capability operating from there.”

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