£3 million station upgrades if Combined Fire Authority goes ahead

Cabinet members are due to vote on the proposals at tonight’s meeting, but at a meeting of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority in Winchester, council leader, Dave Stewart, has already confirmed the authority would back the proposals.

20 pound notes :

Following yesterday’s news that Hampshire could own all of the Island’s fire stations and land if the council agree to a combined Fire Authority, this news below comes from a Hampshire reporter. Ed


Isle of Wight fire bases are to get £3 million upgrades as part of plans for a combined authority.

The 11 stations on the Island will be brought inline with mainland standards, if the proposals to merge the two Fire Authories get the go-ahead.

Fire bosses say the “old and poor” state of the stations will require £3 million-worth of work over the next three to five years, with £1.6 million of this urgently needed in the next two.

Improvements will include modernising the bases, which may include new tech.

Public consultation
Hampshire civic chiefs agreed to push forward with a 12-week public consultation, a decision that was put to Island leaders.

If approved, results will be published in November.

Stewart: Confirmed authority would back proposals
Speaking at a meeting of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority in Winchester, councillor Christopher Carter said he had spoken to Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, who confirmed the authority would back the proposals.

Currently, the mainland service is made up of crews from Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth.

But taking over the Island’s the combined authority would need to find an extra £460,000 a year to “properly maintain” the service.

Increase in council tax
Around £200,000 of this will be funded by a Band D tax increase of £3.74 per year, which will only be billed to Islanders.

Rob Carr, chief financial officer at Hampshire County Council, says this is to bring the Isle of Wight’s precept charge in line with Hampshire – £65.74.

Combining assets
Other cash, fire bosses say, will be gained from combining assets, which will reduce unnecessary spending.

Chief fire officer Neil Odin is confident that combining the services will be good for the authority.

He said,

“We have already gained a great deal of insight from the way the Isle of Wight (fire officers) deals with things.

“On the mainland we have a lot of support from all around us, but the Island force has learnt to be self sufficient. They have learnt a lot of different skills (that we have not).”

Hampshire crews helping on the Island
Currently, Hampshire fire officers are only deployed to the Island in an emergency, but under the new plans, this would be changed to allow them to help in less critical circumstances.

As reported, advantages of a new combined authority include aligning safety campaigns and increasing operational capacity.

The new team would be made up of members from all relevant councils, who would make decisions on all fire related matters.


This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: Images of Money under CC BY 2.0

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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6 Comments on "£3 million station upgrades if Combined Fire Authority goes ahead"

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alisonjane

Council Leader Dave Stewart has already confirmed the authority would back the proposals……yet another ‘Done Deal’ then!
And a Council Tax increase to fund it, paid only by Islanders.
Where is the Public Consultation that must be carried out before any decision is reached?
I cannot actually believe what I have just read.
Democracy is officially dead at the hands of a Conservative administration at County Hall.

Colin

And yet another example of the IWC failing to maintain it’s assets. How many times do we hear that the buildings are in a poor state of repair or not up to standard. The IWC hasn’t maintained the Dinosaur building at Sandown, and has failed miserably to maintain other assets preferring to give them away after a few years.

electrickery

Interesting that the Island will fnd £200K out of £460K. I bet the population of Hants is more than 180,000!
And this talk of sending over extra resources at zero cost is, well, tosh.
The essence of fire response is immediacy, not consistent with getting the next ferry!

tosh

@ Fred Karno you might not have a problem with paying more council tax for the fire service, but most of us don’t have a nice fat police pension,as for DS saying this is a done deal why bother to have a consultation with the rest off us plebs

mariner58
Fred Karno should take note that some 50 or more years after the IW and Hampshire Police Forces were merged Portsmouth Central police officers were called to the Island to assist in the hunt for escaped prisoners only to discover that they were of limited use because the new radios that they equiped with were incompatible with the old style still being issued to their poor relations… Read more »
Fred Karno
I have always been puzzled as to why there has always been local opposition to combining Hampshire and the IOW Brigades. They aren’t going to take the fire engines away and come on the ferry when there is a fire! Does it bother you that the Isle of Wight hasn’t got its own Police force and is part of Hampshire Constabulary? The Isle of Wight ceased to… Read more »