Two MPs summon Cambs fire chiefs to House of Commons to debate massive cuts programme

THE campaign to challenge the closure of Manea fire station is set to move to the House of Commons.

THE campaign to challenge the closure of Manea fire station is set to move to the House of Commons.

NE Cambs MP Stephen Barclay revealed today he and Cambridge MP Julian Huppert have called for a top level summit of fellow MPs, councillors, bosses and union officials to discuss the massive cuts facing the county’s fire authority.

The MPs have written to Councillor Roy Pegram, chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, inviting him and others to a meeting at 10am on September 14 at the House of Commons.

Mr Barclay said the meeting “will be an opportunity to discuss some of the issues I have highlighted in an effort to achieve greater transparency, to allow us to set our priorities and decide between different spending choices.”

Their proposals come as the Cambs Times Go To Blazes campaign to keep Manea fire station open steps up a gear. On July 8 off duty fire fighters will be supporting the campaign at the annual village gala in Manea.

There will be petition forms available and the local fire crew, who normally take their fire engine to the gala, will instead be leaving a marked out square patch of ground to indicate where it might have stood.

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“We think leaving a blank, but marked out area will show people, symbolically, what it might mean for Manea to lose their fire station,” said one fire fighter. Keen Manea supporter is Councillor Geoff Heathcock, a fire authority member, who said he has “consistently argued and voted for its retention and will continue to do so.”

He added: “If local services and localism are to mean anything at all a vital community Emergency Resource like Manea Station must remain open.

“All effort must be applied to ensuring that instead of discouraging people to come forward to join the crew that the tide is changed and there is an active commitment in the months following the October Fire Authority to recruit and bring people into the Service

“Lives ultimately can depend on it and I will gladly play any part I can in that project ongoing.”

FREEDOM of information questions posed by the Cambs Times to Cambridgeshire Fire Authority have revealed that recruitment has all bar stopped at Manea.

The authority revealed that the last fire fighter to join at Manea was on February 19 2010 and fire chief Graham Stagg has previously admitted no recruitment will now take place until a decision on its future takes place in October.

The authority also revealed that Manea was “off the run” for 41 per cent of the total time last year, i.e. not able to respond to calls through either lack of staff or skills.

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