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Councillors speak out on fire cuts

The fire in Market Hill, Sudbury, September 6. ANL-151021-113841001
The fire in Market Hill, Sudbury, September 6. ANL-151021-113841001

Councillors who came under fire for not revealing their thoughts on the proposal to scrap Sudbury’s second fire engine have raised their concerns about the planned cuts.

John Sayers and Colin Spence, Suffolk county councillors for Sudbury, were criticised by campaigners against the cuts as they said they were not willing to share their thoughts until they had seen the results of an independent report into the proposals and subsequent public consultation.

Following the publication of the report, the pair, joined by Great Cornard’s county councillor Peter Beer, penned a joint letter to express their concerns.

They wrote: “We met several times with Matthew Hicks, the cabinet member, and have raised personally and in the strongest possible terms with him our concerns about the possible impact on the service in Sudbury should the proposals go ahead.

“We most recently met with Mr Hicks only last week to discuss the results of the consultation which have now been published and to impress upon him once again the strength of feeling in the town as witnessed by over 4,000 responses from our community to the consultation and particularly in light of the recent fire on Market Hill.

“We have also discussed the degree of risk presented by both the heritage buildings in and around Sudbury, together with the new proposed development along with the overall resilience across the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service brought about by changes elsewhere.

“We are reassured that Mr Hicks and the chief fire officer have listened to our concerns and those we represent.”

A spokesman for campaign group Sudbury and Cornard Against Fire Cuts said: “Members of the group are delighted to see our local councillors finally break their silence on the future of Sudbury Fire Station.

“Discussions have, we are sure, been taking place over the past weeks, and we expect the decisions have already been made behind closed doors.

“It would be interesting to know if our councillors, whose silence on the subject of the proposals at Sudbury has been deafening, have been privy to what is to happen to Sudbury, and if that has, in any way, influenced their decision to go public at last.

“Will Suffolk County Council listen to the people of Sudbury, informed by local firefighters and volunteers, that we do not need an ill-thought out experiment with our public safety?”

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