Fire service to be looked at in depth

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Following the fire in Sudbury local politicians have come under increasing pressure to maintain the current fire service, despite impending cuts that are likely to see the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service facing a £1million-a-year shortfall.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said he has received a large number of correspondence from local residents concerned about the fire service’s future in the town and the local area.

Firefighters were described as heroes following the fire for successfully rescuing a lady from a burning building and ensuring no lives were lost.

Despite this, Mr Cartlidge said decisions must not be made in the heat of the moment and lead by emotion.

“Given the scale of the fire and the shock it presented to the town, such concerns are quite understandable and I totally sympathise with the strength of feeling on the issue,” he said.

“However, we should remember that at this point in time there are no final proposals.

“The fire authority sought views earlier in the summer during a one-month pre-consultation and are expecting to bring forward proposals to the Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting in November.”

It is then expected that a detailed 14-week consultation will follow, used to inform any final decisions in April next year.

“I will therefore be meeting Suffolk County Council cabinet member Matthew Hicks and Chief Fire Officer Mark Hardingham to emphasise that whatever plans they put forward must recognise the impact on Sudbury of the recent fire,” said Mr Cartlidge

“I will also be insisting that they look at all the options for our services to ensure a level of fire cover that is both reassuring to the public and affordable, rather than simply concluding with those options that present the largest budget savings.”

Sudbury town councillor Luke Cresswell has been one of the most vocal campaigners for keeping the current level of service, suggesting a rise in council taxes.