CONFIRMATION that 80 hours of vital ambulance cover is to be restored in Tendring has been described as “excellent news” for the community.

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The East of England Ambulance Service has agreed to reinstate 16 additional hours, five days a week at its Weeley base from next month.

The move comes after Tendring District Council (TDC) worked with others to lobby the service after it announced cuts last year.

The East of England Ambulance Service had announced that it was to cut both Weeley’s full-time ambulances as part of its efforts to save around £50 million.

Lynda McWilliams, TDC’s cabinet member for health and community safety, told a meeting of the cabinet that talks to discuss the concerns had been very successful.

She said: “We held discussions about how the service was being run in Tendring and the fact that we were not happy with the proposed reductions in the hours of crew time.

“There was a meeting at the Weeley ambulance station and as a direct result of the concerns raised there will be an additional 16 hours provided five days a week from the site from next month.”

Douglas Carswell, MP for Clacton, who spoke out about the issue last year and had been involved in the lobbying, said it was “excellent news” for the community.

He said: “Local people are extremely concerned about ambulance cover and this announcement will be welcomed throughout the district. It’s excellent news.

“If we were to lose a station or there was to be a reduction in cover, because we are on the end of a peninsula, then it would have serious consequences.”

TDC leader Peter Halliday said that it showed the benefit of working to influence decisions made by other bodies.

Sarah Candy, cabinet member for inward investment and growth, added: “It just goes to show that the talks were very worthwhile if we are able to achieve this increase in hours at Weeley.

“We have done this through influencing and providing valuable feedback which has been taken into account.”

Trevor Redburn, East of England Ambulance Service Trust assistant general manager, north-east Essex, said: “This is excellent news for the community of Tendring. This demonstrates that we have listened carefully to the people of Tendring and their representatives to provide a service that will meet their needs for now and the future.

“We are not closing either station but providing ambulance resource cover to match call demand during certain times of the day and night when required. We will continue to listen and meet up with the community and their representatives to resolve any issues or questions they may have.”

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