Observer Comment: Red hot debate ignited over fire station decision

THE GREAT fire station debate has finally reached our shores (see pages one and two).

With the huge financial cutbacks facing local authorities today it was inevitable that our two stations would come under scrutiny.

Since we first became aware of the plans on Monday, a whirlwind of protest has swept through our town.

Up to 30 residents went straight up to the Ridge station on Wednesday to wave placards and make their feelings known.

And at the drop of a hat, young campaigner Phil Bailey jumped to attention, rallied some of his pals together and shot over to the Fire Authority meeting in Eastbourne.

In another victory for democracy Phil and his fellow campaigners were allowed into the chamber to listen to the full debate.

This was only after the interjection of local member councillor Phil Scott who argued that the whole debate should be heard in open public session.

The public and the media were not initially allowed into the chamber to hear a discussion that involved taxpayers money, lives and potentially livelihoods.

Cllr Scott should be applauded for his efforts to have a meeting of this nature held in public.

And Mr Bailey should be applauded for his heroic efforts in hastily setting up a Save the Ridge Fire Station campaign.

He already has close to 1,000 supporters on Facebook which is a stunning effort in such a short space of time.

It is so refreshing to see someone as young and keen as him getting spearheading such an important community issue. So let the consultation begin and let’s hope the Fire Authority is prepared for some red-hot opinions and comments.