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‘Listen to residents and stop fire service cuts’

Protest against the loss of Sudbury's second fire engine.
Protest against the loss of Sudbury's second fire engine.

Campaigners believe the results of a consultation into proposed cuts to Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) show that Sudbury should not lose its second fire engine.

As part of the £1.34 cuts it is proposed Sudbury’s second appliance is replaced with an unspecified rapid response vehicle.

This was heavily criticised in the consultation responses, which included 4,090 ‘unofficial’ questionnaires that only asked questions relating to Sudbury.

A spokesman for Sudbury and Cornard Against Fire Cuts said: “We are delighted to see it made official that the local population opposes county council cuts to Sudbury fire station.

“We now call upon our county councillors to do what they promised and listen to the electorate.”

Ellen Murphy, member of the group and Sudbury town councillor, welcomed the report that was compiled by independent group, Opinion Research Services, using the feedback from consultation responses.

“In the crucial vote last month our councillors told us they couldn’t vote against cutting Sudbury Fire Station because they were waiting for this report,” she said.

“Now it’s here and it clearly spells out what we all knew. Sudbury says no.”

County councillor for Sudbury John Sayers has said he will make his position on the cuts known before the decision goes to cabinet on May 17.

The campaign group feel the focus group, which formed part of the report’s results, should be reconvened.

The group spokesman added: “The report mentions a Sudbury focus group of nine people who were paid £30 each to attend a meeting, which excluded local firefighters.

“The focus group heard one side of an argument and we would welcome it reconvening with the opportunity to discuss claims such as a smaller vehicle would suit narrow streets and lanes. This simply is not a problem faced by local crews.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council explained the focus group was run by Opinion Research Services, and not led by SFRS.

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