Hundreds more sign fire station petition

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HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition to oppose any potential downgrading of The Ridge Fire Station.

Campaigners against the proposed cuts gathered at Tesco in Hollington, St Leonards on Friday handed out leaflets and attracted several hundred signatures on the petition.

An event a few weeks ago at Asda in Battle Road, St Leonards, achieved similar overwhelming support.

Earlier this month up to 400 residents vented their anger at the county fire authority’s decision to recommend the downgrading of the station by taking part in a mass rally from there to Ore Community Centre.

Councillor Phil Scott, who sits on East Sussex Fire Authority and who attended Friday’s event, said: “The event was extremely well-supported by a number of people including Sarah Owen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate, Ore resident Phil Bailey and local councillors Michael Wincott and Richard Street.

“The campaign group were overwhelmed by the support from shoppers, many of whom live in the Ore and rural areas that will be affected by any cuts to services and downgrading of The Ridge Fire Station.

“There was once again anger from those that understand that attendance times will increase as a result of the proposals and that was a situation that they were very unhappy about. I want to thank Tesco for its hospitality.”

East Sussex Fire Authority is proposing to relocate the wholetime fire appliance from The Ridge Fire Station to Bohemia Road Fire Station, keep the retained firefighter duty system and fire appliance, along with the off-road vehicle at The Ridge.

A decision on the future of the fire station is due to be made on December 13. More than 2,500 people have already signed an online petition against proposals.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) is holding a public meeting at the Hastings Centre, on The Ridge, on November 7 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.