PANGBOURNE fire station will close as part of fire service plans to save £1.4m.

On Tuesday the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority (RBFA) announced it would shut the West Berkshire station after a consultation that focused on the service's prevention, protection and response work.

Wargrave Fire Station could also be shut in a year's time if savings cannot be found elsewhere.

The closures follow a 245 signature petition from the people of Wargrave calling for the station to remain open and a consultation with 1,050 responses.

More than 70 per cent of respondents supported options that would keep both Pangbourne and Wargrave stations running.

Councillor Emma Webster, West Berkshire Council's lead member for integrated risk management, said: “Crews and community of Wargrave, we listened to the comments you and petitioners raised – like all respondents you have been passionate in the defence of your fire station.

  “I promise we will try to find the savings to keep the fire station open. However I need something in return to enable this to be a possibility.

  “The crewing availability for fire and rescue incidents needs to increase and, in the next 12 months, we need this to reach 60 per cent.”

The Pangbourne closure saves £168,000 a year and will only go ahead if a community fire station is opened in Theale.

Other changes include the remote management of three stations, saving £555,000, and the disestablishment of the Retained Support Unit, saving £423,000.

Councillor Colin Dudley, Chairman of RBFA, said: “Making changes to something as important as the way in which the fire and rescue service works is never easy but we are not in a position where we can stand still. Savings totalling £2.4m need to be found by April 2020.

 “£1m of those savings will be found from a restructures of all departments, with an additional £1.4million to come from service redesign.

"We received 1,050 responses from residents, community groups, councils, staff and representative bodies – plus a petition from the people of Wargrave – and conscientiously considered all of that before voting.”