Cllr Lesley Rennie refers to proposed Saughall Massie fire station site in green belt as “a piece of scrappy land”
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Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority meeting 29th January 2014 Part 2 of 2 starting at what councillors said on agenda item 5 (West Wirral Operational Response Considerations (Post Consultation))
This transcript continues from Councillors agree 12 week consultation on new £1.95 million Saughall Massie fire station to replace Upton and West Kirby. The reports for this agenda item are on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority website.
DAN STEPHENS (Chief Fire Officer, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service): I’ll pause at that point and take questions.
CLLR DAVE HANRATTY (Chair, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority representing Liverpool City Council): Just before we open it up, just to make a note that the recommendation I’m proposing to the Authority around our proposal to the Authority is that we approve the key area that we choose in Wirral West so that we can make any further decision over the closure of West Kirby and the proposal to undertake consultation obviously will ??? just so you know that that’s what I’m proposing. Lesley?
CLLR LESLEY RENNIE (Lead Member for Operational Preparedness representing Wirral Council): Thank you Chair.
Well, I’m absolutely delighted that is what you’re proposing and I would have hoped that you would have done that, before I had the opportunity to and I never expected that as well but having said that I just wanted to make a couple of comments.
I am still a hundred per cent convinced that a merger is the best possible option we have as a fire and rescue authority in the circumstances we have which for all the reasons regarding finance, savings that we’ll have to make without rehearsing all those again.
I think we’re extremely fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to at least pursue this other option on the Saughall Massie site. I know that it’s not going to be popular with particularly some of my colleagues on Wirral, but I think here as a fire authority and what I have to do as well in my mind is to say we have a piece of green belt land here, on the other hand we have the safety of twenty-six thousand people in the wider West Kirby, Hoylake, Meols area which we can offer them the added safety of I know it’s errm, it’s still a reduction in the response times but at least the fire appliance would be able to get to them if we went along this option at two minutes and two minutes is an awful long time if your life or your family or you’re in a road traffic accident and you feel that it’s a matter of life or death.
So I think we have to be pragmatic about this and I’m sure we’re going to be especially as the Chair has suggested the best possible options these days. The way is what we have to repeat myself we have a small piece of green belt land, yes it is designated green belt land, it’s not a lush pasture by any means, it’s a piece of scrappy land but nevertheless it’s green belt land and that will cause some opposition in Wirral I’m sure amongst colleagues and members of the public but weighing that up against the additional safety for that wider area of West Wirral I don’t really think there’s any chance in that and it’s the best possible option.
It’s unfortunate again that I know that in one sense we have to enter into a full consultation process, but again I think again you know again that’s a sensible decision to take to make sure that we’re belt and braces really and that hopefully that we won’t find ourselves in a judicial review because that would just take us endlessly into the future time. So I’d be pleased to support option 3a if that’s alright with you Chair.
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