Sussex

Three West Sussex fire stations earmarked for closure

Findon Fire Station
Image caption Findon Fire Station is one of the three that would close under the proposals

Three fire stations could shut as part of a plan to reorganise West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSF&RS).

Retained fire stations at Bosham, Findon and Keymer, manned by part-time firefighters are earmarked for closure.

But cover would be improved at Burgess Hill and Littlehampton, and a new fire station and training centre built at Broadbridge Heath, Horsham.

WSF&RS said closures would be in low-risk areas, but the Fire Brigades Union said the service would be poorer.

County Fire Officer Max Hood said that last year, Bosham answered 107 calls, Findon 45 and Keymer 81.

If the plans went ahead, Bosham would be covered from Chichester, Findon from Worthing and Keymer by Burgess Hill.

Longer to respond

There would also be improved daytime cover at Petworth and Selsey, but East Preston, Horley and Lancing would lose one of their two fire engines.

Residents in Findon told BBC South they feared it would take firefighters longer to respond to emergency callouts.

"Inevitably, if you live right next door to one of those fire stations it might be a minute or two longer but we can easily meet our service standards from adjacent fire stations," said Mr Hood.

He said WSF&RS operated on a model that had changed little over the years and it needed to make sure the right resources were in place for the 21st Century.

Union spokesman Frances Bishop said night-time response times would be diminished in Bosham, Findon and Keymer.

"In these areas we will be providing a less effective service than we currently provide," he said.

The proposals are out for public consultation until 8 October, with a final decision being made in November.

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