Fire chief challenged on lack of publicity for public meeting

Members of the public raised concern about lack of publicity for a meeting at Maresfield last night (Thursday, August 5) about a review of fire service provision in East Sussex.

About 35 people attended the meeting, at the fire service training centre Maresfield, which heard about proposals for change. They include moving Lewes and Newhaven fire stations and altering the way some stations are crewed – including Uckfield.

Chief fire officer Des Prichard and his deputy Gary Walsh were there along with the chairman of the fire authority Cllr Ted Kemble and vice-chairman Cllr John Livings.

When members of the public asked how the meeting was publicised Mr Walsh said press releases were distributed and information sent to councils and other organisations across the county. He outlined the consultation process and said all documents relating to the rural review were on the internet.

Mr Prichard said a decision against paid-for advertising was a conscious one made because public meetings advertised in the past were poorly attended.

Questions were asked about the cost of the review, and consultation, and about the detail contained in review documents which can be seen on the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service website.

Mr Prichard said he was confident his recommendations would allow continued provision of a good service to the public:

“I have been in the service for 34 years. I am passionate about saving lives, like all fire fighters. I don’t ever want to see anyone suffer. I do go out and see people when they have suffered. I am passionate about our service but we have to get a balance here.”

The fire authority will consider the recommendations in the light of consultation responses and make decisions on how to proceed.

It was stressed at the meeting, which was held at the fire service training centre in Maresfield, that any proposals agreed by the fire authority would need to be further considered before implementation.

See also:

Uckfield firefighters raise concern over service review

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