A DECISION on the future of the second fire appliance in Tenbury has been put back for the second time.

Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority was expected to make a decision on the future of the engine when they met on Monday.

But it was decided to put the matter on hold until September.

The issue was put back earlier in the year after a vote against changes that would have involved the loss of the second fire appliance.

That decision was made because Phil Grove, who represents Tenbury on Malvern Hills District Council and is a member of Worcestershire County Council, voted against the Conservative party whip.

As a result he was suspended from the Conservative group on Worcestershire County Council and removed from the fire authority.

He said that his vote was a matter of conscience as he believed that the removal of the second appliance would put lives at risk.

There has been a strong backlash against the proposal to cut front line fire services including a petition calling for the matter to go to a public referendum.

Tenbury Town Council has also strong objected to the plan to remove the second fire engine and the new town Mayor Mark Willis pledged to try to save the engine.

One of the major concerns was the impact of losing the second appliance when Tenbury is affected by flooding.

In the past when the town centre has been cut off by rising river levels it has been possible for one of the fire engines to be stationed in the town centre.

This has made it available to deal with any incidents and also to assist with the pumping out of flood water.

Fire crews at Tenbury have also been involved in the fight to try to save the second appliance although there has been a constant problem in recruiting enough fire fighters to ensure that the station has a full complement.

All fire fighters at the station in Tenbury are ‘retained’ rather than full time.

Although the fire engine earmarked for the axe is the smaller of the two machines based at the station in Burford it carries a range of specialist equipment including cutting gear and does attend incidents where lives are at risk.

Fire chiefs had argued 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 .

"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."