Suffolk and Cambridge fire merger shelved

The proposed merger of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Services has been cancelled.

Following a progress report presented to both services in autumn 2012, investigations into the possiblity of a merger identified several problems with the proposal.

An increase in the Cambridgeshire service’s council tax precept of £5 for Band D properties meant the gap between the services’ precepts was too high.

The merger also received insufficient support from the Department for Communities and Local Government, and a 12-week public consultation, which ended on January 14, showed 41 per cent of respondents were not in favour of the proposals, with 49 per cent backing it.

Investigations into the potential savings a merger could provide showed the figures to be less than had previously been thought.

Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for public protection, said: “It was important that we fully explored a potential merger to see how we might be able to build on the existing relationship between the two authorities.

“However, I was clear from the outset that we would only continue with plans for a full merger at this time if it was the right thing to do for the people of Suffolk.”