Concerns over plans to impose fire cuts

Portsmouth coastguard called to reports of a body near Chichester

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COUNCILLORS have voiced their concerns over looming cuts within Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Members of Portsmouth City Council met fire officials at Southsea fire station to learn more about a cost-cutting plan being imposed in the coming years.

The move could see the removal of a fire engine in Southsea and the loss of jobs – though nothing has been confirmed and a public consultation would happen first.

But following the meeting yesterday, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South, has written to the chief fire officer for Hampshire to oppose the plans.

‘Portsmouth has many high-rise buildings,’ he said.

‘Hampshire Fire Service has confirmed to me that it needs five fire engines to tackle a fire in a high rise.

‘Under these proposals, there will only be four fire engines left in Portsmouth.

‘This means we will rely on a fire engine coming from Waterlooville, Fareham or Porchester.

‘With our roads so congested, this means people in a high-rise block which is on fire will have to wait longer for the right number of fire engines to arrive to rescue them.

‘This is not acceptable.’