MURMERS of concern over plans to downgrade The Ridge fire station at Hastings are reaching a crescendo.

This week saw Rye MP Amber Rudd being joined by local firefighters to present a petition in Parliament while Rye Labour candidate Sarah Owen, led a delegation of residents, fire fighters and campaigners from The Ridge Save Our Station group to meet the Shadow Fire Minister Chris Williamson MP.

The concerns of residents at Pett, Guestling, Fairlight, Three Oaks and Icklesham and justifiable.

These communities rely on The Ridge as a vital front-line service - it is what they pay a section of their council tax for every year.

The Fire Service itself admits that response times could increase by up to four minutes. In an emergency those extra minutes really could mean the difference between life and death and of thousands of pounds of damage being caused to homes or businesses.

Yes, we are all having to tighten our belts and make cuts in the face of the current economic climate, but making cuts to essential front line services is a grave folly which could result in dire consequences.

We are currently in a 12 week consultation period, but surely the Fire Service has heard everything it needs to.

Pett residents have already made their views known at a packed public meeting and Icklesham residents will be doing the same on Saturday November 17.

The message from them is loud and clear - lives and property will be put in danger if this unacceptable cut goes ahead.

JUST two weeks ago there was great disappointment and dismay at the news that Battle Bonfire had been ‘cancelled’ because of a waterlogged field.

This week those who did turn up to the more low-key event have hailed it as the ‘best Battle bonfire since 1995’.

The cancellation has given Battel Bonfire Boyes a financial boost, which will go towards securing the future of the event, and opened up options as to the location of next year’s bonfire.

It certainly seems that boggy field may have been a blessing in disguise for BBB.

RYE holds its biggest event of the year on Saturday when thousands of people are expected to line the streets for the bonfire celebrations.

It now costs £10,000 to stage the event and big firework display, yet street collection yield less than £1 a head.

The money goes to support local charities and to help keep the bonfire tradition alive in Rye.

Surely an amazing event like this is worth more than £1 - we would encourage people to enjoy the celebrations but to dig a little deeper in their pockets.