Victory for fire station campaigners

Ridge Fire Station decision protestors happy
Ridge Fire Station decision protestors happy

CHRISTMAS came early for campaigners fighting to save The Ridge Fire Station after plans to downgrade it were unanimously thrown out.

There were cries of celebration and huge sighs of relief after the county’s Fire Authority backed an 11th hour ammendment to their consultation plans.

At a packed meeting today (THURS) at the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service headquarters in Eastbourne, authority members threw their weight behind a bid by councillor Roger Thomas to keep the fire station in full service.

One of the founders of the Save Our Fire Station campaign, Phil Bailey, who handed in an 8,621 name petition said: “I’m absolutely elated.

“They have actually listened to us and what the residents felt about the potential loss of their fire station.

“Christmas has come early for all of us.”

The authority had carried out a 12 week consultation process on the future of the station after recommending it was downgraded to retained status and its appliances moved to Bohemia Road.

It is tasked with finding £3m of savings over the next three years.

But cllr Thomas, the Conservative spokesman on the Fire Authority, said: “We have to take note of the public view.

“I realise that many difficult decisions will have to be addressed in the future.

“I propose the following amendment to the authority’s recommendation.

“That this Authority continues to maintain a fire station at The Ridge and in addition continues to maintain a whole time appliance at The Ridge and does not relocate an appliance to Bohemia Road and that the appliance at The Ridge is maintained on a 24/7 basis.

He added:“In addition to request the chief fire officer and chief executive to undertake community safety activities in the rural communities near to The Ridge to provide further reassurances to the public that safety is our primary concern and to report back to the Fire Authority.”

The ammendment was unanimously approved by all present members of the Fire Authority.

READ TOMORROW’S OBSERVER FOR FULL STORY