Monday, October 19, 2009

Finally the Council Fire Service documents are made public!

Following sustained pressure from the Liberal Democrats success was achieved today, with the posting on the Warwickshire web site of the Cabinet report and two background reports.

At the Warwick consultation we were told our response must be based on fact rather than emotion and yet the Conservative cabinet were withholding this very information. Too much of the information has had to dragged out by requests from the Lib Dems.

You can find a link to these documents on the Local Lib Dem website.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Secret Tory Report on Fire Service Proposals

After sustained pressure from my Lib Dem colleagues on the County Council, the management summary of a report presented to the Conservative Cabinet in July, based on which it decided to consult on the closure plan have been made public.

The Tory Cabinet initially refused to make this document public in spite of freedom of information requests by Lib-Dems.

Yesterday however following sustained pressure from Lib-Dem county councillors, Warwickshire County Council agreed to release the Executive Summary of the consultants' report on which the recommendations to Cabinet had been based, and today they have gone further and agreed to release a version of the full report in the near future.

When I attended the public meeting on Monday we all felt we were not being given the full picture. The information given to us was sketchy. We were also told that our responses to the consultation needed to be based on fact rather than emotion. Difficult when the facts were being kept from us.

The report can be found on the Kenilworth & Southam Lib-Dem website where they are fighting the same campaign to stop the Tories from closing Kenilworth Fire Station. It is important that these campaigns run together as closing Warwick and Kenilworth will place a huge strain on the remaining Leamington Fire Station leaving all three towns dependant upon just one fire station.

I am gravely concerned about response times, at the meeting Fire Chiefs admitted that activity for incidents peaked around 6pm. This is the same time as roads between Warwick and Leamington are heavily congested.

The management summary admits in the section marked 'uncertainties' that it "makes use of national calculations of the effects of response time, whereas local models would be preferable".

We cannot make decisions to close fire stations in two of our largest towns in the county on uncertainties. It is time to scrap these plans. If we do need to review our fire service then the conservative council need to do their homework.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

3 Things you can do to Save Warwick Fire Station

The Conservative County Council want to close Warwick Fire Station. Liberal Democrats Councillors are opposing this closure.

There are 3 things you can do to keep up the pressure to Save our Fire Station.

Complete the consultation
Complete the consultation form and return it to the Fire and Rescue Service Deadline for return is 8th December 2009 - we strongly urge you to wait until after the meeting on November 10th to complete the form. You can download a copy of the form from and follow the Fire Service web site.

Write a Letter
Write a letter to go with the form The fire service want to use computer modelling to analyse the results - there is no guarantee any extra comments will be read in detail. We suggest you send a hard copy form with a covering letter to ensure that your views are recorded.

Lobby the Councillors
Lobby the Conservative County Councillors - Help them see sense.
Lib-Dem councillors on the county council have already decided to opposing the closure of Warwick Fire Station, so the decision will be down to the Conservatives who are proposing the closure.

Please write to the Conservative Fire and Rescue Portfolio Holder, Cllr R Hobbs (Conservative), Warwickshire County Council, Shire Hall, Warwick CV34 4SA.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Warwick Fire Station Consultation

I’ve just got back from a consultation on the proposed closure of Warwick Fire Station at Myton School this evening. The meeting was very well supported by my estimate over 100 people all against the proposed closure.

The key argument against the closure made by residents is that we do not believe response times can be maintained if Warwick Fire Station is closed. The information provided with the consultation does not appear to stack up. There are only two roads between Leamington and Warwick and these get clogged up during peak times, especially from the end of school in the afternoon through to the evening rush hour.

During the consultation the Fire Officer admitted that the peak activity time was between 2pm and 10pm. He described this as a bell curve, which would place the actual peak at 6pm, right around the evening rush hour.

I have asked for more information on this along with a revised map showing the response rates plotted at this time of day, taking into consideration the traffic at 6pm with and without Warwick Fire Station included.

I will let you know when I get this information.

In the meantime you can take part in the consultation from the County Council Website.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Independant Safeguarding Authority - Lets apply a bit of common sense.

I have just had an email from a local arts group that is considering excluding children and young people from their organisation because they are unable to cope with the Beaurcracy involved in the new Independant Safeguarding Authority.

This is the new Government quango set up as a knee jerk reaction to child protection by assuming we are all Paedophiles unless we can prove otherwise.

I have always felt that one of the great things about living in Warwick and Leamington are the wide range of activities and groups available to people of all ages. This helps build a cohesive community that makes this area a great place to live and grow up.

Now I am all in favour of protecting our children, however I feel the latest government knee jerk reaction to the issue, simply throwing more beaurocracy at a problem will end up having the opposite effect.

Children benefit from having constructive interaction with people of all ages such as membership and involvement sports and arts groups. Otherwise we are creating a society in which: all adults are feared as potential paedophiles; children are left with nothing else to do but hang out on street corners getting into trouble and alienated from the rest of society; and adults fear having anything to do with children in case they are seen as abusers.

This does not paint a picture of a Britain I want to live in.