CAMPAIGNERS have forced a delay in the decision to close Shoebury ambulance station.

The East of England Ambulance Service planned to turn the manned station into a “response post” last month, but plans have been postponed until residents have their say.

A cross-party agreement at Southend Council to try and save the station in Campfield Road helped, but the change is still expected to happen.

Nick Faint, head of integration and partnerships at Southend Council, claimed the ambulance service gave out “inconsistent messages” and a demand for a consultation was made.

Mr Faint said: “As a result of that conversation, East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) agreed to review their plans and to engage to a much greater to degree with the affected ward members and to engage with local residents most importantly.

“They agreed to continue with a planned change around introducing a new ambulance to Shoebury, which was subject to an operational review which said they were never going to meet their required targets if they don’t have two ambulances in and around that area.

“They were keen to commit to that change and on November 26 that change did happen.

“They’ve also agreed to consult and engage in much greater detail with residents and ward councillors and on January 13 there is a member engagement plan for the six affected wards and members have been invited to that, they have also offered to engage with the Shoebury Residents’ Association and that is being arranged.”

At the end of the consultation, a special scrutiny meeting will be held on January 20 which Mr Faint said would include a representative of the service explaining the reasons behind the change “with a view to implementing the change not as planned but after having listened to the feedback”.

Chairman Councillor Trevor Harp called discussions with the ambulance service “robust” and said last week that should the scrutiny committee disagree with the changes, it could be referred to the Health Secretary.