The county's Police and Crime Commissioner has hit back at criticism that his plans to take over the governance of the fire and rescue service are “flawed”.

Hertfordshire County Council has told the Home Office the move would be “costly”, “highly disruptive” and that the commissioner’s plans to reconfigure and close fire stations have been “driven purely by financial savings”.

They have said the plans are flawed –  financially, operationally and democratically – and that the Fire and Rescue Service continues to be best placed under the control of the council.

But now Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has written to the Home Office to hit back at the criticism.

Mr Lloyd says bringing the fire and rescue service under the same umbrella as the county’s police force would cut costs and enable better joint working between emergency services.

And, in the letter to the Home Office, he says the ‘co-location’ plans – involving stations in Welwyn, Hatfield, Buntingford, Hitchen and Bishop’s Stortford – would improve public safety.

The county council had claimed these plans were operationally flawed. But the commissioner says this is “demonstrably untrue”, as all the specific proposals  have arisen from the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

And he stresses that no reorganisation would go ahead until there had been a full feasibility study and public consultation.

In the letter to policing and fire service minister Nick Hurd, he states: “The estate proposals detailed in my addendum demonstrate a commitment to enhancing public safety via co-location of police and fire stations, creating new community safety hubs, where the risk profile and geography allows.

“The county council appears to believe that these proposals are driven by potential financial savings. While the capital receipts would be beneficial, the motivation is the public safety benefits that would arise.”

And he later tells the minister: “You will note, of course, that public consultation in these matters is a statutory responsibility and it has been unhelpful that county council documentation and public meetings have suggested that the intention is to somehow circumvent these requirements.”

Hitting back against claims the bid is flawed financially, Mr Lloyd tells the minister that the business case is based on ‘certain assumptions’ because the county council had been unable to provide a breakdown of current costs.

And he also claims that, under the control of the county council, the fire estate “has been neglected for some time”.

Mr Lloyd also tells the Home Office  that putting the fire and rescue service under the control of the police and crime commissioner would actually improve the democratic accountability.

He says he would be personally accountable at the ballot box, based directly on the performance of the fire and police services in the county.

In contrast, he says, the fire service did not get a single mention in the last county council election, in 2017.

And finally Mr Lloyd urges the Minister to make a speedy decision, before Parliament rises for the Summer Recess.