Villages celebrate as fire station is saved

VILLAGERS in the Rye area were celebrating this week after the successful campaign to prevent the Ridge fire station at Hastings from being downgraded.

The Ridge provides vital coverage to communities at Fairlight, Pett, Pett Level, Guestling, Three Oaks and Icklesham.

Residents were concerned that downgrading the station would increase response times and put lives and property at risk.

Villagers made their feelings known at well attended public meetings in Fairlight and Pett.

Their voices were listened to when members of the Fire Authority unanimously rejected the idea of downgrading the station when they met last week.

The decision was welcomed by Rye MP Amber Rudd who said: ““This is the right decision for the residents of Rye and the surrounding villages.

“It is good news that members of the East Sussex Fire Authority saw sense and that the Ridge Fire Station will not be downgraded.

“I would like to congratulate all of the campaigners, particularly Phil Bailey, on their campaign and thank the Fire Authority on coming to a sensible conclusion.”

Labour parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen described the victory as “A real community effort”.

She added: “I have listened to thousands of people and the safety of our villages should always be the top priority.”

The Ridge station played an important role in tackling the huge pine warehouse blaze at Rye harbour a few years ago and was also involved following toxic chemicals leaking from a Rye Harbour refinery.

The decision means the Ridge station will remained manned for 24 hours a day rather than being an unmanned station with an on-call fire crew.