Conservatives have vowed to continue to fight the loss of one of Brighton & Hove’s 5 fire engines despite the cuts being voted through at this morning’s meeting of the East Sussex Fire Authority.
Conservative Group Leader on the Fire Authority, Patcham Ward Councillor Carol Theobald, presented a 10,000 signature petition at the meeting opposing the fire service reductions in Brighton & Hove. Carol, and fellow Brighton & Hove Conservative, Wish Ward Councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn, both voted against the proposals and argued strongly that they could potentially put lives at risk.
Earlier this week, Conservative Group Leader on Brighton & Hove City Council, Geoffrey Theobald, and Hove & Portslade MP, Mike Weatherley, wrote a joint letter to the Fire Services Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, urging him to facilitate the merger of the East and West Sussex fire services. They argued that these frontline cuts would not be necessary if the two fire services in Sussex were to merge, creating significant savings in management and back office costs. Plans for a merger were drawn up a couple of years ago and got to an advanced stage, only for West Sussex County Council, as Fire Authority, to pull out.
Carol said: “I am extremely disappointed in today’s decision of the Fire Authority and I will continue to fight to retain our fire engine. The Fire Authority needs to make these savings over a 4 year period so if only we could get the merger back on track some of the frontline cuts that both East and West Sussex are having to make could be avoided. The strength of public feeling in the city against these proposals is huge as evidenced by the petition I presented at today’s meeting.”