I have seen the Fairlight Residents’ Association email from Helena Dollimore drawing attention to the Fire Service Review and her campaign to maintain a proper level of Fire and Rescue coverage for our villages.
It would be useful to set out the current position. I have been in communication with Sally-Ann Hart MP’s office over this issue and received the following statement –
“Sally-Ann had a meeting with Chief Officer Dawn Whittaker of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) on the 1 February in which she raised her serious concerns about the possibility of the downgrading of the cover provided by The Ridge fire station in Hastings and the impact that this would have on Hastings and the outlying villages.
Sally-Ann is very pleased to learn of the announcement by the East Sussex Fire Authority last Friday that they have agreed that the way that emergency response is provided for the east of the service is reconsidered in order to enable the continued provision of 2 immediately available fire appliances in Hastings for 24 hours 7 days a week.”
At first sight that is an encouraging response, but it does not make clear that the appliances are to be at The Ridge, rather than Bohemia Road. Accordingly I wrote to Sally-Anne’s office on 17 February seeking clarification as follows –
“A remaining point of concern is that the wording does not specifically refer to the retention of fully-staffed appliances at the Ridge, but only “in Hastings”. That could mean at Bohemia Road station, which is unacceptably far from the villages of Fairlight, Guestling, Icklesham and Pett which I represent.”
Sally-Ann Hart’s office has taken this up with the Fire Service and I await a response.
I would like residents to be assured that I have been actively dealing with this issue, as I did during the 2012 Review, and that Parish Councils are also actively engaged.
It is certainly worthwhile expressing our views to the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. Response times in the villages are already not the best and we have narrow lanes and wooden houses (one burned down in Clinton Way quite recently – happily it was not occupied). Best wishes,
Councillor Andrew Mier
Rother District Council – Southern Rother Ward