Ripon councillor 'won't be bound' by council in opposing fire cuts

Ripon fire cuts
Ripon fire cuts

Ripon Councillor Bernard Bateman (Cons) said he will ‘not be bound’ by the City Council’s decision to oppose proposed cuts to North Yorkshire Fire Service.

Coun Bateman will represent the city of Ripon when he appears at a meeting in December where members will vote on proposed cuts in the Fire Cover Review.

At a Full Council meeting on Monday evening, October 5, councillors voted that Coun Bateman be ‘mandated’ to present their objections to the proposal.

However, while Coun Bateman said he would be there to represent the people of Ripon, he would be making his own decision in the December meeting.

He said: “We have been discussing this for quite a long time and I won’t be bound by the city council. I will look at it from my own experiences.

“The city council will not be directing me. I will listen to the discussions and we have a consultation ongoing at the moment.

“I have my own views but nothing has been decided until the consultation has finished.”

Simon Wall, Chairman of the North Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union appeared at Monday’s meeting and made an impassioned speech urging councillors to oppose the proposals.

He argued that response times could increase to more than eight minutes under the new proposals and stated the Tactical Response Vehicles would be unable to respond to a number of incidents.

The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy, described Mr Wall’s presentation as an eye-opener before the council voted unanimously, bar one abstention, to object to the proposals.

However, Coun Bateman explained that he could see the benefits of sending a smaller car to certain incidents based on previous experiences with the ambulance service.

He said: “If we go back 12 years ago we had a situation where we brought in ambulance cars and the paramedics did not want to work with them.

“I was chairing that meeting but now you see them as a normal thing. They are all over the place and have saved thousands of lives.

“There are instances where you only need a two-man car and we have also seen a drop in the number of call-outs so it’s horses for courses.

“The two-man cars will only be used in certain situations, that’s why I was in favour of them because they will only serve certain purposes and will get to instances quicker.”