A REVISED plan to build a new fire station on Green Belt land at Saughall Massie will be considered by councillors next week.

The application was refused when it came before the planning committee in December when Labour chairwoman Cllr Anita Leech swung the decision by voting against the development.

Now an amended scheme has been submitted which shows:

Overall size of the site reduced by 30%.

Length of the building cut by 30ft.

Access road to the west of the building removed.

Car parking in a nearby close moved nearer the fire station.

Planners say the proposal represents the "very special circumstances" needed to break Green Belt guidelines and are recommending approval.

Their report to be studied by councillors says: "Response times to the West Kirby area from the proposed fire station - and the increased rates of survivability related to those quicker response times - constitutes very special circumstances to outweigh the harm and justify inappropriate development in this particular case.

"The lack of any available alternative sites in suitable locations would further support this conclusion."

The proposal is part of the fire service's drive to reduce spending to meet Government-imposed budget cuts.

It views closing West Kirby and Upton fire stations then merging them into a single site at Saughall Massie as a means of cutting costs.

However resistance to the controversial scheme appears to have increased since the last submission with a protest petition growing from 3,700 names to more than 4,000.

Leading campaigner Cllr Chris Blakeley said local feeling is stronger than ever: "People do not want this fire station at Saughall Massie Road and I am sure they will be out again protesting when the meeting takes place.

"The reasons for refusal are as valid this time around as they were the last - there will be light pollution, noise pollution and extreme traffic dangers.

"There is no reason for the fire service to leave the existing Upton station which has been only one in the area for the last two to three years."

Chief fire officer Dan Stephens told the Globe: “Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority has been forced to make changes to the way it delivers its services as a result of ongoing budget cuts over the last decade, and it must close West Kirby Community Fire Station to help achieve the necessary savings.

“The authority strongly believes building a new fire station at the site in Saughall Massie will provide the best overall emergency response to West Wirral in these circumstances.

“If the authority is not able to build in Saughall Massie residents and visitors to West Kirby, Hoylake, Newton and Meols will have to wait an additional two minutes on average for an emergency response to be sent from Upton.

“The response to people living in the Upton area will remain faster than the Merseyside average even after the new fire station is built.

“The Fire and Rescue Authority is in no doubt the additional two minutes will make a difference to chances of survival in a fire or other emergency.”

The planning committee meets at Wallasey Town Hall, next Thursday, June 22, at 6pm.