LETTER: Challenge cuts to the fire service

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With the news that the Tory county councillors have accepted the proposals for cuts to our fire service ( WSCT 25/09/2014, ‘Fire service changes agreed’) we see yet another example of councillors ignoring the views of the people they represent. With huge developments planned for Horsham district it is little wonder that so many people have expressed their opposition to the loss of the immediate response fire engine from Horsham.

In your report in last week’s edition Councillor Barnard claimed to have listened to everyone who responded to the consultation on the changes. He did not, however, take a decision to remove our fire engine on the basis of responses from local people, but on the ‘evidence’ which supported this cut.

The evidence provided was a reduction in the number of emergency calls the fire service receives. That would seem to be particularly flimsy evidence in light of the rapid increase in the number of households that the north of the county is due to experience over the next few years.

An increase in residential and commercial development will no doubt result in a proportionate increase in emergency calls. Cllr Barnard also claims that the cuts will improve the service but does not consider it necessary to explain how he arrives at that conclusion.

Local residents and local firefighters have expressed their concerns about the impact of the proposed changes on the ability to deliver a safe and efficient service.

If Cllr Barnard is not able to appropriately address those concerns then his decision to accept the changes should be opposed. The Labour councillors on West Sussex County Council have expressed their opposition to the cuts.

We would urge all concerned residents to contact their county councillor to do likewise.


Campaign co-ordinator, Horsham Labour Party, Clarence Road, Horsham