Hackney council joins legal battle to prevent cuts to fire service
PUBLISHED: 15:13 17 August 2013
A legal fight against the Mayor of London’s fire cuts, which include the closure of Kingsland Fire Station, has been backed this week by Hackney Council.
The council announced on Tuesday that it has followed in the footsteps of neighbouring Islington, along with three other London authorities, in joining efforts to seek a judicial review of the plans which could see nine fire stations in the capital closing as early as September 16.
Meanwhile a small group on the London Fire Authority (LFA), which voted against the cuts but had its decision overturned by Boris Johnson, will be presenting a set of cost-saving proposals as an alternative to axing stations and firefighter jobs.
In the light of these developments, a spokesman from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said on Tuesday it was “unlikely” that Kingsland station in Kingsland Road, Haggerston, would close next month as originally planned.
After announcing his council would be backing the legal action, Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe said: “These plans place the safety of ordinary people behind cost savings in importance and we will join with other local councils to challenge this decision in the courts.”
The news comes after a number of firefighters at Kingsland Fire Station – which tackles 1,500 incidents a year – said they have yet to be told when the station will be closed and what will happen to their jobs if it does.
One of them, who did not want to be named, said: “We seem to have been dancing around this subject for months and we don’t seem to be any further on from two, three or four months ago.”
Several firefighters also voiced disappointment at what they say had been a lack of support and communication on any developments from Hackney Council – claims rejected by the authority this week. They said Mayor Pipe had not spoken to any of them about the plans.
Refuting the claims, Mayor Pipe said: “We have opposed these plans since their announcement and will continue to fight them.
“I have personally lobbied both Mayor Boris Johnson and James Cleverly [chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority] since the council stated its formal opposition in October 2012.”
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