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Breaking news: Camden Council loses High Court battle to save Belsize fire station

PUBLISHED: 12:21 20 December 2013 | UPDATED: 13:02 20 December 2013

Cllr Abdul Hai on a march to save Belsize fire station. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Abdul Hai on a march to save Belsize fire station. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Camden Council has today lost its High Court bid to save Belsize fire station from closure.

The council brought a judicial review alongside six other London boroughs in a bid to block Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s proposals to close 10 fire stations across the capital, including Belsize station in Lancaster Grove, Belsize Park, and Clerkenwell, which also serves Camden residents.

The seven authorities had their challenge rejected by a judge today, following a four-day judicial review hearing that was held in November.

Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden’s cabinet member for community safety, said the cuts will have a major impact on public safety and are against “public opinion”.

“We’re naturally quite disappointed with the verdict,” he said.

“We took the legal action on the basis of public interest and making sure we stood up and defended the public safety of our residents.

“If you look at the response times, they are critical for saving lives, but with these cuts they will increase significantly.

“We believe the mayor’s action is against public opinion.”

The London Fire Brigade will also lose 14 engines and 552 firefighter posts under the reductions, which were forced through by Mr Johnson against the wishes of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, a committee of councillors and London assembly members which runs London’s fire service and voted against the plans.

Average waiting times for fire engines responding to incidents are set to shoot up across Camden.

The borough is set to be the worst-hit in London by the closures, with residents in six wards projected to wait an extra minute or more for an engine on average.

No other borough will see as many large increases.

Belsize ward will be the hardest hit, with the average waiting time nearly doubling from 4 minutes 37 seconds to 7 minutes 59 seconds.

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