Ambulance firm 'facing redundancies' after Chessington planning snub
2:30pm Tuesday 25th September 2012 in News
A private ambulance company will be making mass redundancies after being “forced” to move premises.
More than 20 trained paramedics and technicians are expected to lose their jobs by the end of the year following the council’s refusal to permit a planning application submitted by AST Ambulance Service.
The company based in Hook Road, Hook, applied to continue to use the site for ambulance vehicle storage and begin staff training, but were told at the south of the borough neighbourhood committee meeting last Wednesday this would not be possible.
One objection, citing parking overspill as a concern, was received from the Chessington Residents’ Association after more than 100 neighbours were notified of plans.
Stewart Lawson, managing director at AST Ambulance Service, said: “We give back to the community but they just throw it back in our face.
"The vehicles go out to designated hospitals in the morning and come back in the evening. We are not causing any nuisance.
“Moving will be at the cost of redundancies. It is a travesty.”
Mike Hoare, from the residents’ association, said he did not understand the logic behind the threatened redundancies.
He said: “Training people here would have brought more people here and exascerbated the parking problem.
“If 20 people are going to be made redundant where have they been working and training all this time?
"If they have been there all along why was there no planning consent?”
Mr Lawson, who said he spent £15,000 in the community in the past 18 months by servicing AST’s 12 vehicles at a local garage, believed the total cost of uprooting would be £250,000.
He said: “I am hurt and frustrated. People do not realise AST is about saving lives.”
He said AST would not appeal and would leave Chessington by Christmas.
During the Olympic and Paralympic period AST were chosen to support the London Ambulance Service.
A spokesman for Kingston Council said the proposal did not have enough parking and would affect highway safety.