Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Council's fire takeover rejected

Windsor Fire Station
Windsor Fire Station plans to close between 2000 and 0800 BST

A Berkshire council has been told its application to take local control of fire services has failed.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead applied to run its own service so it could reverse a decision to close Windsor fire station at night.

But the Local Government Authority (LGA), which eliminates unviable applications, said the proposal would not be able to progress.

The council says it disagrees with the LGA's decision.

The minutes of the LGA meeting said the proposal to take over fire services at Windsor would be "complex to implement" and that the small size of the authority would "render it unviable".

There were also concerns about the knock-on impact on the fire authority in the remainder of the county.

We don't agree with the decision that has been come to by the LGA
David Burbage, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Council leader David Burbage said: "We would expect that we would be running exactly the same service as today.

"It would just be who decides where the money is spent that would change.

"We put a lot of time and effort into it and proved we were the right people to run the service.

"We don't agree with the decision that has been come to by the LGA so we are looking pretty carefully at the rationale behind it.

"We want to provide local services for local people that local people are paying for but it's difficult when bodies and governmental organisations are telling you you're not allowed to do that, which is a bit strange."

Rolf Harris

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue's chief fire officer, Iain Cox, said: "If the LGA decision stands then Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue plans to start moving night-time firefighters across to Wokingham as soon as facilities there have been upgraded.

"This is expected to happen some time next year."

A High Court judge turned down a bid to stop the closure plans for the station in February.

A campaign to keep Windsor Fire Station open 24 hours a day drew support from celebrities including Sir Elton John, Rolf Harris and Sir Alan [now Lord] Sugar.

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