Dozens expected to join fire station march

DOZENS of residents and community leaders are expected to take part in a march next month to voice their anger at plans to downgrade The Ridge Fire Station.

The march will take place between the station and Ore Community Centre in Old London Road where there will be a public meeting.

Last week the Observer reported the East Sussex Fire Authority’s plans to make the station a part time operation.

The Fire Brigade Union slammed the move saying it could result in longer call out times leaving rural areas exposed.

Fire Authority member and local councillor Phil Scott has organised the march with backing from Cllrs Michael Wincott and Richard Street.

Demonstrators will meet at the station at 11am on October 7.

The march will proceed to The Ore Community Centre where there will be a public meeting at noon with residents invited to voice their concerns.

Cllr Scott and Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen will speak at the meeting.

Tomorrow councillors Wincott, Street and Miss Owen will be manning a stall near the Co-op in Ore encouraging people to sign a petition against the downgrade of the Ridge Fire Station and to engage with the consultation process.

Cllr Scott said: “This group will not be deterred.

“We are convinced there will be a massive turnout to listen to the proposals.

“It will also allow local people the opportunity to voice their concerns and place on record their objections to any redeployment of resources to Bohemia Fire Station and any proposed downgrading of The Ridge Fire Station.”

Firefighters are supporting the march which has the full backing of the Fire Brigade Union.

Union chairman Mark Brown said: “It’s the voice of the people and I am very pleased with the response we have had from all age groups. It’s nice to see people rallying together to get themselves heard.

“I’m hopeful we can change their views - we need as many people to get on board as possible. It will affect all surrounding areas and we have 11 weeks left to get the pressure cranked up.”

Resident Phil Bailey, of Ticehurst Close, said: “The march is a good idea to show the support for saving station.

“We have 600 people on our Facebook site.

“I know 30 people myself who will be on the march. I have been surprised by how many people have been supportive and keen to have a petition. We are determined to be heard over this.” For more information about the campaign visit: www.saveourstation.co.uk.