PLANS to close Bewdley Fire Station have been taken off the table of money-saving talks by fire chiefs to save almost £5 million.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is no longer recommending shutting the Dog Lane base as it looks to address an annual budget shortfall, which rises to £4.7 million within three years .

Instead, it has drawn up an option to retain the fire station, along with three others across the two counties .

The decision to consider retaining the base follows a public consultation.

Many residents were concerned about losing the station just weeks after a severe flat blaze in the town.

A petition opposing the closure of the base was handed to the fire authority with 550 signatures.

Paul Gittins, Labour Bewdley town councillor said he was pleased with the latest decision.

“My main worry was that if they closed it, it would never reopen,” said the ex-firefighter.

“Now the retained fire- fighters need to try to keep it open as much as possible.

They’v e got to make sure a crew’s a vailable 24 hours a day.

Mr Gittins, who was sub officer of Bewdley Fire Station for 25 years , said: “The trouble is you don’t know when a fire is going to happen and it’s important that we have our own fire station to ensure incidents are dealt with quickly .”

Closing the base was one of a several options being drawn up by the fire service , along with removing one of the two fire engines from Kidderminster, which has also been taken off the table of talks.

Bosses said additional resources were now avail-able , which meant there was not currently a financial need to close stations.

They are set to make a decision during a meeting next Wednesda y