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Bid to cut £1.6m from West Sussex Fire and Rescue budget

JPCT 291211 Hurst Road, Horsham. The Fire Station. photo by Derek Martin ENGSNL00120111229160035

JPCT 291211 Hurst Road, Horsham. The Fire Station. photo by Derek Martin ENGSNL00120111229160035

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) has released proposals that could slash £1.6m from its budget.

The fire service has encouraged residents to have their say on the best way to maintain or improve the service while managing resources with reduced costs.

A county-wide consultation began on Monday (June 2) and runs until August 23, on a range of proposals due to be considered by West Sussex County Council in September.

The proposals have been engineered to help WSFRS save £1.6m from its budget for 2015/16.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “We want to meet residents face to face in the community to talk about the proposed changes and to find out what local people think.

“Demand has changed and the types of incidents the service attends have also changed.

“Above all we want to make the people of Sussex safer by changing the way West Sussex Fire and Rescue service operates in the future.”

The proposals:

• Keep all fire stations open, but change the way fire engines are crewed, introduce new shift patterns and reduce the overall number of staff, including firefighters.

• Keep the same number of immediate response fire engines, but move one from a temporary base to a permanent location and remove some second, and one third, appliance.

• Support WSFRS with the prevention work it carries out, working closely with communities, professional partners and those most at risk.

• Allow for investment in specialist equipment and training to support communities during severe weather and widespread flooding.

Details about the proposals will be given at all 14 county local committee meetings between June 10 and July 10.

North Horsham CLC’s next meeting is at County Hall North in Horsham at 7pm on Monday June 23.

Chanctonbury CLC will meet at Washington Memorial Hall, School Lane, Washington, at 7pm on Wednesday June 11.

Consultation stands will be set up at fire station open days.

Full copies of the consultation document will be available at West Sussex libraries and District and Borough Council offices. Electronic copies, and all the supporting technical documentation, is available on the fire service website: www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

An online questionnaire is available at www.surveymonkey.com/s/FFR2015 and people can also write to Have Your Say, Future Fire Rescue, Freepost RSBK-CHTU-KGGG WSCC, Chichester, PO19 1RQ.

Horsham Fire Station is currently based in Hurst Road, along with several other public service buildings such as the police station, youth centre, law courts and South East Ambulance Service, as well as the recently privatised Royal Mail delivery and sorting office.

The county council has previously announced plans to relocate the fire station to the west of Horsham development.

A fire engine and the Horley crew were relocated to Horsham in 2012.

Last year, a spokesperson for Horsham District Council confirmed ‘dialogue is ongoing’ with these organisations with a view to ‘achieve satisfactory level of land assembly’ for regeneration objectives.

In addition, Sussex Police last year stated Horsham Police Station will be sold as an asset.

 

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