The Sunderland Fire Station is no longer at risk of closure following the £8.8million of government cuts.
The Fire Brigade Union announced the station was no longer at risk of closure following a meeting between the Fire Authority about the march on February 9 and the petition.
The petition, set up by Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliot, was signed by more than 20,000 people to protest the closure of the station on Railway Row. Sunderland Echo also collect 14,000 signatures.
MP Julie Elliot tweeted: “WE DID IT! After the submission of our petition, the Fire Authority say that no T&W stations will close.”
However it is the unsung heroes, the senior officers and members of the Fire Authority, who may have been “at the heart of the decision”, says Millfield Councillor Iain Kay.
Councillor Bob Price, Millfield Ward and member of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, commented: “Whilst the march and petition did focus attention on the threat of closure, the increase in the money the authority receives from the councils were the deciding factor.”
He went on to say: “The people now pay an extra 2p or 3p a week depending on their tax bracket.”
Coun Kay also described the change in tax. He also added: “The campaigning put pressure on the decision to be made. In many ways the march and petition was the icing on the cake to show the solidarity and determination of the whole community.”
He continued on to say: “The petition placed formally on record the support that these people had for their fire station and its retention.”
In addition to the slight rise in Council Tax, there will also be changes to the Service to manage the £8.8million government cuts. Cllr Kay commented: “There will be over 100 jobs cut and fewer appliances as a result of the current budget.”
Councillor Tom Wright, Chairman of the Fire Authority, spoke about the cuts: “It is important to note that the Authority still faces significant financial challenges ahead which we will need to address.”
The Fire Authority has several initiatives in place to deal with the cuts to spending including: the removal of six fire appliances across the services, there are currently 30, and introduce two Targeted Response Vehicles for lower risk incidents 24/7.#####