LETTER: Fire cuts are the right decision

EVERYONE knows that there has been a considerable consultation on the changes planned for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

The changes are now to be acted upon and councillors, especially those of us directly affected by changes to our local service, have talked listened and read all that has been produced with regards to the changing service.

The first and foremost thought and discussion you have to have is: “Will this affect the safety aspect of our Fire and Rescue service, not just for Petworth and around but for the whole of West Sussex?”

Over the past months and with many queries answered I have come to the conclusion that the service will actually be improved. In a year there will be a review to make sure that all is well.

Change is something that is generally not liked at first and as with most things only time will tell.

Petworth has had a retained fire station for as long as I can remember and it’s done an excellent job far and wide around the district.

It is now more and more difficult to recruit the personnel and, although two fire tenders are in situ, there is not always a full complement of firemen to man both.

That is not a sole reason for looking to reduce the number of tenders but with one tender and one 4x4 it will be considerably easier to get both vehicles to the scene of a fire or road accident.

The 4x4s will be equipped with the most up-to-date equipment and do also have the advantage of being much easier to get to the scene of say a common fire, one of the most usual turnouts during the summer months.

Many have worked long hours to get these proposals right and having listened to all concerned I am of the opinion that the right decision has been reached.

Just to answer some residents who would have liked me to call in this decision.

The only reason for my calling in the decision is on the grounds that the process was not handled correctly. I have no evidence that this is the case. Indeed, one of the most important parts has been consultation and by the number that have read and commented on the proposals you know that the consultation was carried out in a proper manner.

Janet Duncton

County councillor

Petworth division