Local Labour MSP Iain Gray has accused SNP Ministers of failing to take responsibility for the decision to close the Scottish Fire Service College in Gullane, following a reply in the Scottish Parliament this week.
Mr Gray asked Ministers what discussions they have had with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) regarding proposals to close the college. The ministerial reply he received stated that “decisions on the allocation of its resources, including training facilities, is a matter for the SFRS Board”.
Last week, Mr Gray and Councillor Jim Goodfellow launched a campaign against the proposed closure of the college, which has been a fixture in the village for some 60 years. They have delivered postcards opposing the closure to local residents in Gullane and are urging them to return the cards to demonstrate their support for its retention. Nearly 70 of the cards have been returned already.
Iain Gray MSP said:
"I have still not heard any real justification for the closure of the Fire Service College in Gullane, beyond the need to make financial savings. When I quizzed Ministers on the decision, they simply repeated their position that it’s nothing to do with them, despite the fact that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is accountable to the Scottish Government.
“This failure to take responsibility for such a major decision is completely unacceptable, although it is becoming a familiar tactic with this government. In fact, the entire process for the proposed college closure is playing out in much the same way as the disastrous decision to close Haddington's courts. It is clear that the SNP Scottish Government does not care one iota how much damage the decisions taken on its watch will do to East Lothian.”
Cllr Jim Goodfellow said:
"Closing the training college is bound to have a negative impact on Gullane, not only in terms of jobs and the local economy, but also as there is a strong likelihood of the college remaining a vacant site as the former Templar Lodge Hotel did for a number of years. Closing the college is unacceptable, and I will continue to fight for its retention as long as there is any hope of reversing the proposal."