Telford council set to reject crime commissioner’s plan to take over Shropshire fire service

Telford & Wrekin Council has said it will not support plans for Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion to take over control of Shropshire’s fire service.

John Campion

Mr Campion wants to have a single joint commissioner for West Mercia Police, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and says the plans would save £4 million.

But a paper, going to Telford & Wrekin’s Cabinet when it meets next week, suggests that members should not support the plans “for reasons of financial considerations and service resilience”.

The recommendation will be discussed at a meeting of the cabinet at Addenbrooke House on September 14.

It was put together by the Customer, Community & Partnership Scrutiny Committee, following a request by Council Leader Shaun Davies.

The report says: “The committee considers that the ability to deliver the savings seems to be uncertain.

“Although the PCC has stated that the savings are not a target, on balance there does not seem to be sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they could be made as described.

“The committee is, therefore, concerned that if the proposed savings cannot be made as stated, they would be delivered either through other means which may adversely impact service delivery i.e as a result of redundancies or loss of buildings or appliances, or result in an increase to the precept.”

When the plans were released earlier this year, both Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies and Shropshire Council’s leader Peter Nutting said they had concerns about the plans put forward by Mr Campion.

On Monday, members of Shropshire Council’s communities overview committee decided to reject Mr Campion’s proposal to become a joint governor of Shropshire, Hereford and Worcester fire services and the police force.

Their recommendation will now go to council leader Peter Nutting to officially sign off.

The news represents a blow to Mr Campion’s efforts, with the council being one of the key large consultees on the proposal. The government will have the final say on whether to approve the proposal.

Five of the committee members voted to reject the plans, with two abstaining.

Eric Carter, chairman of Shropshire Fire Authority, says the service had already drawn up plans to save £2 million.

The authority commissioned its own independent report into the plans.

Worcester city councillors have also unanimously rejected the proposals.

Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet members will make their formal decision when they meet next week.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I am listening to views from our communities right across the West Mercia area as part of this consultation and look forward to receiving the council’s response in due course.”