Bidford Young Firefighters, Martin Turner, Cllrs Peter Barnes and Daren Pemberton during the campaign.
After months of delay — with no explanation — the county council finally voted on the future of the fire service across Warwickshire. An independent report commissioned by the council on their consultation highlighted many of the concerns I’ve previously expressed on this site: much of the consultation document was incomprehensible, the choice of a tabulated questionnaire prevented people from expressing their views, and the way the consultation was handled did more to promote opposition than to create consensus. The report also pointed out that, whatever mitigating factors might be asserted, the vast majority of people opposed the cuts.
In the event, Conservative portfolio holder Richard Hobbs recommended what he termed ‘Option B’ – closure of Studley but a reprieve for Bidford. We had suspected all along that the original proposal was put forward in order to make the real proposal seem more palatable.
Although everyone in the Bidford campaign must be pleased with the assurance of a future for our fire station, Studley residents will be bitterly disappointed. Questions raised in the consultation were never answered, and it is hard to see to what extent the Conservative cabinet changed its view in response to constructive proposals by the campaigners.