Budget should reflect our needs

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I SHOULD like to start with a quote from Cllr Cooke: “It is of course unfortunate that the fire authority finds itself in the situation of having to find £7.1 million of savings in East Sussex.”

1. Who has cut £7.1 milion from the budget? (Sub question: What is their political affiliation?)

2. On what grounds (i.e. why)?

3. East Sussex is a large geographical area. Who chose Hastings (The Ridge) and Battle as two designated stations to experience cutbacks?

4. If this really was a consultation we would not be forced to choose between two arbitrarily imposed options - the overseeing committee (ESFRS?) would be asking for real input, not just a tick-box feedback - Vote 2A or 2B? (Please take note NHS Maternity ‘Better Beginnings’ and town planners involved with the helter skelter art ‘donation’)

5. If hardly any of Hastings or Rother respond to this fait accompli, does it mean they approve, disapprove or just can not work their way through the process to express their views?

6. The link road opens in 2015 (which is why there are already 24/7 speed limits of 30mph on Queensway on a section with no junctions). As the road protestors will assert, this will attract new congestion, housing and businesses along the route - which will begin or end adjacent to The Ridge. I imagine ESFRS has a plan to ‘staff up’ the downgraded station sitting in its 2015/2016 safe.

So, just to clarify, as in December 2012 when so many people mobilised to overturn the threatened closure/downgrade of The Ridge Fire Station and won, we do not want any fire station closures.

Saving lives does not depend upon money it depends upon decent training, communications links, personnel and mechanically efficient equipment. If a fire engine has a minimum response time, and the traffic is heavy, this means small stations dispersed around the region with ‘standard’/basic first-on-scene capability are preferable, and then the communication centre can deploy station cover or specialist pumps as needed.

A budget should reflect this.

CAROLE ANNE BENTON

Harold Road