WARGRAVE fire station could close in July if extra funding is not found before then, according to the fire service. 

The oldest and smallest fire station has been threatened with closure since April 2017, when councillors on the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority voted to shut the station. 

But that decision has been deferred and deferred again, and the latest scheduled date is now July 1, later this year. 

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The station opened in 1903 and is manned by on-call firefighters. Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service wants to close it to cut costs. 

However, funding could be found from Wokingham Borough Council and Wargrave Parish Council, to keep the station open — and turn it into a ‘community safety hub’.

Nikki Richards, director of support services at the fire service, detailed the potential changes in a report to a meeting of the fire authority on January 20. 

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She said: “Appetite does exist with Wokingham Borough Council, Wargrave Parish Council and blue light partners to consider collaborative opportunities for the location.” 

This could see council services being offered at the fire station, and “other community safety uses”.

Now, the fire service will work with the borough and parish councils, and the police, to see how feasible a community safety hub would be. More details should come to light this summer, when the fire authority will consider a feasibility report. 

Another aspect in the potential closure is how often firefighters are available at Wargrave fire station. Currently, crews are available an average 22.7 per cent of the time. But the fire service has given the station a target of 60 per cent. 

Ms Richards said: “If the funding cannot be found and availability does not reach 60 per cent, the extant decision will be implemented from July 1, 2020.” 

The community safety hub would focus on “collaboration, prevention and community engagement”.