Protest against Sudbury Fire Station cuts

The fire in Market Hill, Sudbury, September 6. ANL-151021-113858001
The fire in Market Hill, Sudbury, September 6. ANL-151021-113858001

The Free Press is leading a protest photo tomorrow, campaigning against the possible loss of Sudbury’s second fire engine.

There are fears that Sudbury may lose its second appliance, with cuts of around £1million expected to Suffolk’s fire and rescue service.

Residents, businesses, councillors and serving and former firefighters have joined the campaign to keep the town’s second engine.

Many are concerned about the consequences of another fire such as that seen in the town centre on September 6, if services were reduced.

Businesses along Friars Street, which were, and continue to be, affected by the fire have pledged their support to the campaign, while Sudbury mayor Jack Owen has said it is vital the second engine remains.

Outside Sudbury fire station at 1pm the Free Press will be taking a protest photo to show that Sudbury is opposed to the cuts.

Peter Bromley, Sudbury’s Fire Brigade Union representative, said: “Sudbury fire crews have been made aware that our fire station, your fire station stands in line, once again, to be cut.

“To save money, Sudbury may have its second fire appliance removed, permanently. This is simply not acceptable and we call on you, the people of Sudbury and the surrounding villages to rally around the fire station to show the county council that this cannot be allowed to go ahead.

“Over the years, Sudbury has lost its full time firefighters, its lost the water bowser, a specially adapted fire engine designed to hold large volumes of water for rural fires, we have also lost the drill tower in the training yard which is not due to be replaced.

“In the meantime, over £1 million pounds has been spent renovating the station. By the end of next year, Sudbury station could have just one fire engine sitting in its three bays, three bays that your taxpayers money has paid for.

“The recent fire on the Market Hill has brought the station publicity, but this is just one of many fires Sudbury station continues to respond to 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.

“This cut will also affect local villages such as Long Melford, this is because your fire engine will spend more of its time in Sudbury, meaning although your station may not be directly affected by the proposed cut, you effectively pay for a service you won’t be getting.

“We implore you to get involved, get in touch with your MP and local councillors, let them know that this is not acceptable to the people of this town to drop its fire cover yet again.

“Thank you to the people who have supported us at recent visits to Tesco and Sainsbury’s, we intend to show a continued presence in the town in the coming weeks, please feel free to come and have a chat with us. Thank you also to the Suffolk Free Press for its continued interest and support in our situation.

“Sudbury fire station is here for you all year round, but now we need you to help us.”

It is not just the working population of the town opposing the cuts.

Ormiston Sudbury Academy’s head boy, Darrell Barnard-Jones, said: “I am completely opposed to the idea that the people of Sudbury should be expected to feel safe should the proposed conditions come to fruition.

“To feel safe is a basic and fundamental part of a healthy community. The notion that this feeling can be conserved alongside the closure of a valuable public facility is an ignorant one indeed - especially when this value has been elucidated so obviously in recent times.

“Feeling safe is a human right. It should never be considered politically disposable.”

Other groups showing their support for the campaign include the Sudbury Society, with Society chair Lorna Hoey describing the possible cuts as “madness”.