People power looks to have saved one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines from the chop.
A decision by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority today in Wrexham to approve a plan that would have included cuts to frontline services was amended by Cllr Paul Pemberton to specifically dismiss any proposal to cut the Wrexham pump. The amendment carried 8-4.
Some interpret that as a temporary victory and it's perfectly possible for a new fire authority after the May elections to decide that frontline cuts will have to be made to balance the budget. However this decision, taken after heavy lobbying and mass protests, stops the planned cuts for now.
Plaid Cymru Wrexham chair Marc Jones, who led the Save our Services campaign, said:
"This is a fantastic victory for people power in Wrexham. Against the odds, the Fire and Rescue Authority has seen sense and decided not to press ahead with plans to cut one of our two fire engines in the coming years. "Despite claims that the plan to cut one of Wrexham's fire engines was not on the agenda, voting through the plan as it was would have meant agreeing in principle to just that. I'm grateful to Cllr Paul Pemberton for pushing through the amendment that struck out the plan for spending cuts on frontline services and to everyone who voted the right way on the day. More than anything, I'm grateful to the people of Wrexham who backed our firefighters and marched, protested and signed petitions in their thousands to oppose this plan."A new fire authority will be appointed after the elections in May and this issue might come up again. But the new authority will know the strength of feeling and will have to look at other options."
• Pictured: Protesters outside the Guildhall in advance of the meeting, including members of the Fire Brigade Union and Plaid Cymru. Ten of Plaid Cymru's council election candidates were present at the protest as they have been all along the way.