FIRE chiefs will decide the future of the second appliance in Tenbury next Monday (June 9).

A recommendation will go before the Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority that the second fire engine should be removed.

However, all hope is not lost because members will also be asked to consider other options that would involve dipping into financial reserves.

One of these would see the second fire engine remain at the station for five years and the second for two years.

A proposal to axe the second engine in Tenbury was overturned earlier in the year when Tenbury councillor Phil Grove voted against the Conservative party line to make the cuts.

The councillor ,who sits for Tenbury on Malvern Hills District Council and is also a member of Worcestershire County Council, has said that he defied the party whip because he believes the loss of the appliance will put lives at risk.

As a result he has been removed from the Fire Authority and suspended from the Conservative group on Worcestershire County Council.

The appliance in Tenbury earmarked for the axe is not the main rescue tender but carries a range of cutting and specialist equipment and attends incidents where lives are at risk.

A call for a public referendum on the changes to front line fire fighting has been called for by the Fire Brigade Union.

Fire chiefs say that they have no choice but cut back on appliances and fire crew.

In a report to the Fire Authority it is said that cuts to activities that are not in the front line are not enough.

‘The proposed changes to front line fire engines in this are necessary due to all other avenues having been explored and addressed’ says the report that will be considered on Monday.

‘These avenues have seen significant reductions in areas such as back-office services, senior and middle management, procurement and general spending budgets – the front line has so far been protected but with the level of cuts faced by the Authority this can no longer be the case.’