One of West Berkshire’s fire stations is set to close in the next two years after the county’s fire service approved £1.3m of cuts yesterday evening.
Pangbourne fire station will be axed as one of a number of measures to be undertaken by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service to reduce costs.
Three other stations across the county will be remotely managed and the retained support unit (RSU) disestablished.
It comes as RBFRS has to make £2.4m of savings after its funding was cut by central Government, with around £1m having already been found in behind the scenes parts of the service.
Seven options had been put to staff and the public in a consultation that ran until last month, with option one chosen by the service’s Fire Authority on Tuesday.
Emma Webster, the Fire Authority’s lead member for risk management, said: “We didn’t want to consider closing fire stations, but £1.4m of savings has to be found.
“I’m aware closures will not be well received, and officers and staff will help the communities affected.”
Cllr Webster had previously said that Pangbourne would not close until a new station in nearby Theale was completed and operational, expected to be within the next two years.
Wargrave fire station near Twyford was also expected to close under this option, but was given a 12-month reprieve after a public petition against shutting it was presented to the authority.
In considering the options, the Fire Brigades Union had described option one as “the lesser of all evils”.
It was also the option that had seen the most support in the consultation – especially among RBFRS staff – with around 40 per cent of the 1,050 responses favouring it over the others.
West Berkshire councillor and Fire Authority member Paul Bryant said: “I’m disappointed that Pangbourne will be closed, it’s our policy that stations should be central to a community and it’s a pity this will not be possible when Pangbourne closes.
“However I know Theale is pretty close, so I have to reluctantly agree to support option one.”