PRESSURE is growing to put a stop to the closure of West Wirral’s fire stations, with the borough’s Labour politicians calling for a “united front” against Government cuts to fire budgets.

Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood has stepped into the fight to save both West Kirby and Upton fire stations, which could be closed in the coming weeks if Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority vote to go ahead with a proposed merger.

A 12-week consultation on the future of fire service cover in West Wirral closed in May.

The exercise was to gauge public opinion over a proposal to close West Kirby and Upton fire stations and merge them at a new single site in Saughall Massie Road in Upton.

Throughout the consultation, the public were invited to suggest suitable alternative options for cash savings. The results now will be considered by the authority who will make a definitive decision on June 30.

At next Tuesday’s meeting, chief fire officer Dan Stephens recommends that the authority approves the merger of Upton and West Kirby fire stations at a new station on Saughall Massie Road, subject to agreement from Wirral Council to transfer ownership of the land to the authority and the granting of planning permission.

Moreton West and Saughall Massie Conservative Cllr Chris Blakely has submitted a ‘notice of motion’ in the hope of gathering the support of all 66 Wirral councillors to reject the proposal to build on the green belt council-owned site.

But Wirral’s Labour party are hoping it will not come to that, with Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood calling on the Government to revisit the funding allocation which led to the proposed merger.

Over the last four years, Merseyside’s fire authority has had to make savings of £20 million as a result in cuts to its Government grant. It needs to save a further £6 million by the end of next year.

Ms Greenwood said: “Wirral West must be the only constituency in Britain faced with losing both of its fire stations in one cut.

"Our local Labour councillors, led by Councillor Matthew Patrick in Upton, have been campaigning with residents concerned about how this drastic cut could impact the safety and security of constituents. I am asking the minister to reconsider their decision to cut funding."

Cllr Patrick said: "Government cuts will close both of these important emergency service bases in Wirral West.

“Unbelievably, the Tories are now saying to deflect the impact of the cuts they will offer new cash - but only if the Fire Service agrees to build a new fire station instead.

“The money would be better spent keeping the existing fire stations open.

“The public in Greasby, Saughall Massie, West Kirby and Upton are all against these plans and we hope the government listens to Margaret's appeal when they respond to her question."

Wirral Council leader Phil Davies added: "This is a dangerous cut that needs to be reversed. I have reached out to Councillor Jeff Green, the Conservative Group Leader and Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Phil Gilchrist, asking them to back our call in support of our local fire stations.

"We are a pragmatic and progressive council on Wirral and I would imagine the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would want to support a campaign that everybody in West Wirral feels so strongly about.

“It would be a shame if politics got in the way of saving our fire stations."

Cllr Patrick added: "I think Wirral should have a bit more power over things. If we can get all sides around this, this could be quite an exciting campaign. 

"If we're succesful with this and getting George Osborne to look again at the budget, then the fire authority don't need to press ahead and close these stations down."