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Fire service consultation criticised as “sham” ahead of mass public meeting

- May 27, 2014

A prospective MP has labelled a consultation on the future of the East Sussex fire service a “sham”.

Nancy Platts, who will stand for Labour in Brighton Kemptown at the general election next year, claimed East Sussex Fire and Rescue Authority had failed to communicate the potential changes with locals.

She added that very few people were aware of the plans to take a fire engine away from Brighton and Hove leaving four to cover the whole city.

It comes as the fire service looks to make £1 million of savings in the coming years.

The issues will be discussed at a public meeting on Thursday (MAY 29) at the Brighthelm Centre in North Road, Brighton, from 7.30pm.

Ms Platts said: “The consultation carried out by East Sussex Fire Authority has been a sham.

“I have spoken to hundreds of residents in Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven and it is clear that the news about these cuts has not reached the community. East Sussex Fire Authority has a responsibility to the public to be open and transparent and it is now evident that they have failed in that duty.”

The consultation was launched in February.

At the time, Councillor Philip Howson, chairman of East Sussex fire authority, said: “There is no doubt that all of the UK’s public services are under growing pressure as a result of austerity measures.

“We have been working hard to make ESFRS as efficient and effective as possible. To be financially sustainable in the future, we must better match resources to risks from fire and other emergencies – staying the same is simply not an option.

“I would like to reassure you that I and my fellow Fire Authority members take this responsibility very seriously. As you would expect, public safety is uppermost in our minds.

“We are committed to providing a secure future for the Service and for the community it protects.”

A decision will be taken at a meeting of the fire authority on June 5 at the force’s Eastbourne headquarters.

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