CAMPAIGNING councillors and residents united to march through the streets of Dovercourt to protest against the proposed cuts to the town’s fire service.

A crowd slowly and deliberately tread a route through the town, wielding flags and banners supporting their full-time firefighters.

Should Essex Fire Authority vote to approve any of three options to cut the service, Dovercourt Fire Station will be manned completely by part-time “retained” crews.

There are fears over the increase in waiting time this will cause during an emergency, and the possibility of there not being enough volunteers to man the town’s four-man engines.

The town council had called on residents to reject all of the options in a public consultation, which ended in April.

A final decision will be made on the cuts, which aim to reduce the budget of the service by up to £7 million a year, on Wednesday, June 8.

A protest march took place on Saturday, June 4, organised by Harwich town councillor Ivan Henderson, who labelled it the “last chance” for residents to make their voices heard.

“People have made their views known through the consultation and through social media," he said.

“The majority of these people will have gone for none of the options.

“With the location of Harwich we could see ourselves isolated and looking at a 20-38 minute wait.”

“This march is nothing against the retained crews, if these cuts were about doing away with them we would be doing the same thing.

“It is acknowledging Harwich is different and we need our full-time crews.

David Flavell said: “Harwich is a special case, we have a Navy Yard, the International Port and big parts of old Harwich use wooden structures.

“This is a growing area too, we rely on the crews turning up within 10 minutes.

“It is great to see so many people here agreeing."