MALVERN'S mayor says the loss of one of Malvern’s two fire engines would have “worrying implications”.

Plans to cut eight fire engines and a number of on-call firefighters from stations across Herefordshire and Worcestershire were revealed last week.

Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority is reviewing how it can respond to challenges around on-call availability.

The proposed changes would see the ‘second’ engine cut at a number of stations including Malvern.

Malvern Gazette: Malvern mayor Clive Hooper called the plans 'disturbing'Malvern mayor Clive Hooper called the plans 'disturbing' (Image: Malvern Town Council)

“From what I have heard, this is disturbing news,” said Malvern mayor Clive Hooper.

“I understand that the review relates to the whole of the Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority area and that a public consultation is proposed.

“However, from the Malvern perspective, the removal of one of our fire engines would appear to have worrying implications.

“The area covered by the fire station and its crew is quite extensive and there are often occasions when both fire engines are required for particular call outs, whether on the Malvern 

Hills or in domestic and commercial circumstances.

“It is very important that there is no reduction in the level of the effective timely cover that the fire service provides.”

Cllr Hooper said he would need to look closely at the proposals when they are published for consultation.

“I hope the report will spell out in detail what the implications are likely to be for our area,” he said.

District council leader Tom Wells and deputy Natalie McVey, who both sit on the fire authority, have said Malvern residents should fight the proposals.

Cllr McVey said she was concerned about the impact on the town and Cllr Wells said the plans would “strip the fire and rescue cover in Malvern to the bone”.

Neil Bevan, the Hereford and Worcester brigade secretary for the Fire Brigades Union, said the cuts “present a serious threat to public and firefighter safety”.

The FBU’s general secretary Matt Wrack said further cuts would “threaten to push the service past breaking point”.

Worcester councillor Richard Udall, another fire authority member, said he had yet to make up his mind on the proposals.

And Malvern MP Harriett Baldwin said she is keen to ensure the fire service has the right level of staffing, ahead of a briefing with the chief fire officer for the two counties in the New Year.