U-turn on fire station cuts welcomed by campaigners
Campaigners have welcomed news that plans to shut five on call fire stations in north Wales have been scrapped.
The North Wales Fire and Rescue Service had been consulting on the future delivery of their service and warned that one of the options would be to close stations in Abersoch, Beaumaris, Llanberis, Conwy and Cerrigydrudion.
The closure of these stations would have resulted in the loss of 74 fire fighters including 36 fewer whole-time firefighters, and 38 fewer on-call firefighters.
Catrin Wager is Plaid Cymru’s candidate for the Bangor Aberconwy Westminster constituency, and she set up a petition to fight ‘Option 3’ which would have seen the number of frontline firefighters slashed across north Wales along with the 5 on-call stations.
She said: “The NWFRA’s decision today to take options 2 and 3 off the table mean the most extreme measures to cut one in eight firefighters across north Wales have been effectively scrapped.
“People in Conwy, Cerrigydrudion and beyond were horrified at the thought of losing their local fire stations, and objected strongly to the huge loss of 74 front line posts.
“Should we ever need the fire service, we would all want them to be able to get there as quickly as possible. The drastic cuts that were being suggested would have put lives at risk, and I think people saw that.”
Councillor Gwennol Ellis, who represents one of the communities who would have lost their fire station agreed.
She said: “We live in a rural area and our remote farms can be hard to find. The crew here are local, and they are best placed to get to a fire quickly because they know the area so well, and they are just down the road.
“Closing this station would have been a huge loss for the community.”
The petition started by Catrin Wager and Councillor Ellis reached 427 signatures.
Catrin Wager said: “The fact that so many people signed our petition demonstrates the strength of feeling that exists on this issue.
“It also shows that by coming together to take a stand against things that are wrong, we can make a difference.
“Thank you to everyone who signed, our voices were heard. And thank you to the Fire and Rescue Authority for listening.”
In response to the announcement Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn and Leader of Plaid Cymru said: “I’m very pleased to hear that Beaumaris fire station – and others across north Wales that were included in the recent consultation – will remain open, as was campaigned for by those communities, the FBU and by local Plaid Cymru Councillors and elected representatives.
“This is the right decision to keep our communities safe – it’s vital now that the right investment can be made to encourage more people to sign up as firefighters within their local communities.”
Plaid Cymru Seiriol Ward Councillors Carwyn Elias Jones, Gary Pritchard and Alun Roberts added: “This is very good news for Beaumaris – we’re pleased that the community came together to make the case clearly that we opposed the proposed closure of our fire station, and would like to thank everyone who attended the public meetings, signed the petition and made their views known through the consultation process. The result is that our voice has been heard loud and clear and our station and its jobs safeguarded.”
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