Running from danger is a natural part of our survival instinct. Yet, for those dangers to be overcome, some men and women must run into the flames. Literally. The men and women of our Fire and Rescue Service are the reason we know when the worst comes to pass and we find ourselves and our property engulfed in flame, or we or a loved one is involved in a car accident, we know help is on the way.
Several years ago, West Sussex County Council cut Crawley's third fire engine and all its retained fire fighters as part of reductions to the service across the county. Labour country councillors warned that even with increasing fire prevention, cuts would increase response times and put lives at risk. Despite what local Conservatives said at the time, that's exactly what happened. However much you try to limit the need for the fire engines, they remain a vital part of our emergency services and seconds can be the matter between life and death.
So, it's with alarm that I notice the county council are consulting on a new 'West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Integrated Risk Management Plan', plotting out how the service will change over coming years. While no one at the council would be foolish enough to spell out exactly what this means in terms of numbers of fire engines and firefighters, reading between the lines further cuts seem inevitable and the submission made by the county's front-line firefighters through their union the FBU raises real cause for concern.
We as citizens are faced with a choice: we can sit quietly by and allow the Conservatives to keep rolling the dice with our safety or we can stand alongside the men and women who so regularly put their own lives on the line for ours. We can save our fire service, but no one else will do it for us, if you want it you need to act to save it. A consultation is currently taking place on the draft plan, make sure to make your voice heard by going to: https://haveyoursay.westsussex.gov.uk/risk/west-sussex-fire-rescue-service-risk-management-pl/
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council
Running from danger is a natural part of our survival instinct. Yet, for those dangers to be overcome, some men and women must run into the flames. Literally. The men...
Crawley Labour Councillors and members celebrate victory at the Election Count
On behalf of Crawley Labour, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted last week, those involved in running the election, and everyone who put themselves forward to run or campaign, ensuring our town's democratic process remains alive and kicking.
With all the votes counted, every seat contested remained in the same party's hands as before the contest with Labour winning eight of twelve wards, although almost every seat now has a smaller majority. The popular vote across the town was essentially a draw, with the Tories securing a lead of only 5 votes in a constituency they won by almost 2,500 last June. It seems in Crawley, as in the country, voters are fundamentally divided on the big political questions.
Over the last week I've been repeatedly asked what this result means for Labour and the next General Election. Frankly, I'm tired of the spin, the truth is no one really knows. What's sad is no one asked me what the result means for Crawley, the most important question. For Crawley, it means Labour has another year delivering our programme for office: making housing more affordable, securing better job opportunities, regenerating Crawley's infrastructure and maintaining local services despite national cuts.
In 2019, new electoral boundaries are being introduced for Crawley, meaning that every councillor will have to re-stand for election on the new boundaries and residents will have the opportunity to completely replace the council should they choose. Over the next year, all of Crawley's parties will have to clearly set-out their vision for the town and how they intend to deliver what they promise. It is dishonest to promise every road a parking improvement scheme when the borrowing cost would take most of the next century to pay off, particularly not when it's a West Sussex County Council responsibility and they already take the vast majority of Crawley's council tax.
For Crawley Labour though, there is no time to take a break. We are back in the Town Hall, working to deliver on the commitments we made to the public and keep building a better future for Crawley.
Cllr Peter Lamb,
Leader, Crawley Borough Council
Crawley Labour Councillors and members celebrate victory at the Election Count On behalf of Crawley Labour, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted last week, those...
In the wake of Windrush, we’ve had cause to ask ourselves what sort of country we really are. Are we a country which values equality, celebrates diversity promotes community cohesion, and opposes racism and intolerance? Or are we going to become a country which judges people first by what they look like and not by who they are?
In Crawley we’ve always been proud of the strength of our community, as a New Town everyone here has come from somewhere else and yet rather than becoming a source of division that diversity has given us strength.
Some 20 years ago, I joined a fantastic group, known as ‘Crawley Campaign Against Racism’. This group was established in 1976, when a young man, dying from cancer in Crawley Hospital, wrote a letter to the Observer, opposing a surge of racism in the UK. Noticing the range of ethnicities amongst the doctors and nurses caring for him in the NHS, he called for us to: ’Leave the British race and join the human race.’
We see this effort to bridge the gap between cultures in the work of other local groups too, including Crawley Interfaith Network This organisation has brought together local religious leaders and believers from across the town’s faith groups: Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and Buddhist, meeting regularly and sharing their ideas and beliefs to promote greater tolerance, understanding and harmony.
As Crawley’s first Hindu Mayor, I sought to build upon this work in promoting the message that though we may be of many faiths and creeds, we are ‘One Crawley, one community’. Projects supporting this message over recent years have included a multi-faith service on Remembrance Day, along with bringing community and religious leaders together for celebrations on Eid, Diwali, Christmas and Vaisakhi, which as Mayor I was proud to host in Crawley’s council chamber.
As a country we have a choice, we can create a future based upon the prejudices of the past or we can choose to build a better one. I know which one I’m fighting for and I hope I can count on your support.
Cllr Raj Sharma,
In the wake of Windrush, we’ve had cause to ask ourselves what sort of country we really are. Are we a country which values equality, celebrates diversity promotes community cohesion,...