Cotswold councillors have called on the Government to abandon plans to move Gloucestershire’s Fire Control staff to Taunton.
A meeting of Cotswold District Council backed a motion resolving to write to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, strongly urging a review of policy.
The motion, put forward by Cllr Deryck Nash and seconded by Cllr Sue Jepson, called upon all the MPs of the county to sign a petition on the 10 Downing Street website to save the Tri-Service Control at Quedgeley, near Gloucester.
Councillors fear that moving Fire Control staff to Somerset may have a serious impact on the speed and efficiency of emergency response in a rural area such as the Cotswolds.
Council and Conservative Group Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “The impressive response by the emergency services to the July floods shows how essential it is that fire control staff need to be working in close proximity to their police colleagues. This proposal to move them to Somerset simply makes no sense and we urge the Government to think again.”
The motion, which records the Council’s gratitude to all emergency services, military staff and volunteers who played a vital role during the summer floods, noted that the Audit Commission had warned that relocating fire control staff from the Tri-Service Centre would have a ‘major, negative impact.’
Councillor Peter Martin, Leader of the Independent Group, said: “This move may save money – but it will cost lives. It is essential that local knowledge is retained because it speeds up the response times and accuracy with which the emergency services can be directed.”
Cllr Nash, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “I am delighted that the motion received all-party support from District Councillors. Relocating the fire control staff to Taunton would be a major setback to community safety in the Cotswolds.
“I would urge the people of the District to get behind their Council and lobby the Prime Minister by signing the petition on the Number 10 website today.”
The petition may be viewed at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/TriService/ and closes on February 9th 2008.