Plans to create a combined fire authority including the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton have moved a step closer.
As he presented the plan to the Full Council, the Isle of Wight’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection, Councillor Tig Outlaw, admitted that the majority of those who responded to a 12 week-long consultation opposed the plans.
Speaking last night (Wednesday) Councillor Julie Jones-Evens argued:
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Councillor Jones-Evans’ view was echoed by others including Councillor Debbie Andre, who raised concerns over how much of a ‘voice’ the Isle of Wight would have, as just one of the eleven members on the authority’s governing board would be from the Island.
Backing the plans, Councillor Outlaw said:
“We would actually have eleven voices on that authority arguing the case and fighting and ensuring the delivery of improved services within that authority because every member of that authority is responsible for the fire protection of those communities, no matter where they are within this authority.
“We want what’s best for this Island’s community and I believe this proposal ensures the future resilience of the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.”
Following tonight’s vote, the proposals have been recommended for approval at next Thursday’s (24) extra-ordinary cabinet meeting.
Read more about what a joint Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton fire authority could mean for the Island here.