Midhurst claims it was ‘misled’ over West Sussex fire service cuts talks

A fire service 4x4 in action at a woodland fire in Amersham
A fire service 4x4 in action at a woodland fire in Amersham

ANGRY Midhurst town councillors claim they were misled during talks over cuts to the West Sussex fire service.

They believed West Sussex had researched and taken into account further possible cuts over the border in Hampshire before proposing cuts to the fire service in the Midhurst and Petworth area.

We are very disappointed that we were misled in terms of supporting the changes local to us which were dependent on having support from neighbouring fire stations

Communities in West Sussex along the county border including Midhurst, Rogate, Harting, Milland and Fernhurst, have always relied on co-operation between the fire services of the two counties to step in when fire engines are called away to incidents away.

Margaret Guest echoed the sentiments of other Midhurst town councillors when she told them: “When our fire service gave us a presentation on their proposed cuts we raised the issue of possible cuts in the Hampshire fire service asking if they had taken this into account and we were assured they had.

“I think we ought to remind them of that and make a response to West Sussex County Council.

“I think we should say we are very disappointed that we were misled in terms of supporting the changes local to us which were dependent on having support from neighbouring fire stations.

“West Sussex have not actually, in terms of their impact assessment, really gone into that level of detail and I think it is a great disappointment that they were not as thorough as they could have been.”

County councillor Gordon McAra said Hampshire Fire Service was having to save millions.

He said Hampshire fire stations along the border with West Sussex were losing seven of their nine fire engines from Petersfield, Liphook, Bordon and Grayshott.

Petersfield was set to become smaller than Midhurst fire station with one fire engine and a Land Rover.

Town councillors are contacting Petersfield Town Council to support any opposition to Hampshire fire service cuts.

They are also contacting West Sussex County Council expressing disappointment at the lack of detailed assessment before fire service cuts went ahead.

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