Agenda and minutes

Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 29th March, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Callum Wernham  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were submitted from Graham Howe and Alison Swaddle.


Pauline Helliar-Symons attended the meeting as a substitute for Graham Howe.


Minutes of Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 376 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2021 and the Minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on 22 February 2021.

Additional documents:


The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 19 January 2021 and the Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of the Committee held on 22 February 2021 were confirmed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman at a later date.


Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


A declaration of interest was submitted from Pauline Helliar-Symons relating to agenda item 85, on the grounds that she was one of the Council’s Member representatives on the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service Fire Authority. Pauline stated that she would continue to take part in discussions related to this item.


A declaration of interest was submitted from Paul Fishwick relating to agenda item 85, on the grounds that he was an owner of a small business which was inspected by the Fire Authority once every five years.


Public Question Time

To answer any public questions


A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.


The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.


Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to


There were no public questions.


Member Question Time

To answer any member questions.


There were no Member questions.


Local Fire Service Update pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider an update from the Local Fire Service

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report, set out in agenda pages 23 to 24 and supplementary agenda pages 3 to 15, which gave a strategic overview of the work carried out by the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) over the past 12 months.


The update highlighted the RBFRS’s financial position, including the progress made towards achieving a £2.4m savings goal. Two Tri-service stations have been opened, one in Hungerford in 2017 and the second in Crowthorne in 2020. A third Tri-service station was scheduled to open in Theale towards the end of 2021. Since 2017, 11 new generation Volvo fire appliances had been delivered, with a further 4 scheduled to be delivered in 2021. The update noted a committed drive to educate the public about prevention, including the ‘Safe and Well visits’ scheme and a targeted programme for motorcyclists based on risk. The update noted that during 2021/22, it was proposed that the RBFRS would undertake a review of their technical rescue capabilities in order to ensure that it continues to be aligned to local risk and national best practice.


Tregear Thomas, Area Manager, attended the meeting to answer Member queries. In addition, Angus Ross and Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey (Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) Member representatives on the RBFRS Fire Authority) attended the meeting to provide additional context and background for Committee Members.


During the ensuing discussion, Members raised the following points and queries:


·           When the RBFRS carried out training sessions, could they place an emphasis on the dangers of being distracted by their phone, especially when near waterways? Area Manager response – This was an area that was already covered within training sessions, however a greater emphasis could be placed on this going forward. Due to an expected increase in ‘staycations’ this year, training was also being offered around staying safe at seaside locations.


·           Had there been any noticeable impact due to the closure of the Wargrave Fire Station? Area Manager response – There had been no noticeable impact on response times or coverage, and the new Tri-service stations were functioning very well.


·           Where and how did the RBFRS generate additional income? Area Manager response – The service was very limited in the ways that it could generate income. When the Tri-service station opened up in Theale, and the existing station in Pangbourne was no longer required, the usage of the Pangbourne site could be maximised if that is what the community agreed to.


·           Was there a benefit to purchasing new fire appliances together with other Fire Services? Area Manager response – More competitive prices could be negotiated when purchasing with other Fire Services.


·           Were the new fire appliances Euro 6 compliant (a measure of how much pollution is generated from a vehicle), and were non-frontline vehicles being switch to electric or hydrogen powered? Area manager response – The new Volvo fire appliances were low emission vehicles, and this was a requirement when they were purchased. Non-frontline vehicles, referred to as the ‘White Fleet’, were being replaced with hybrid  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.