Bonfire celebrations ‘an event for the locals’

Stay away unless you're from the county town is the official advice
Stay away unless you're from the county town is the official advice

Emergency services have appealed for the Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations on November 4 to be considered an event for locals.

They are trying to discourage large numbers of people travelling into the town, pointing out that Lewes quickly gets overcrowded and uncomfortable, with few public facilities available on the evening.

Speaking on behalf of a multi-agency group, Superintendent Ed De La Rue from Sussex Police said: “In previous years we have seen very large numbers attend the event in Lewes. The town centre cannot safely cope with such an influx of people and trains and stations can become dangerously overcrowded. Last year around 81 people needed treatment by the ambulance service.

“It is for the sake of public safety that the multi-agency group, which includes experts from the emergency services, has requested restricted travel arrangements and they include road closures as well as changes to train services. We know this may cause inconvenience to those in the local area and we do not make these decisions lightly but the public safety has to be the top priority.”

No trains will stop at stations between Brighton and Berwick, or at Cooksbridge, in East Sussex from midday November 4, parking restrictions begin at the same time and road closures into Lewes start from 4.30pm.

Meanwhile, emergency services across the county are urging people to support their local fireworks celebrations rather than setting off fireworks or having bonfires in their own gardens.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue, South East Coast Ambulance and Sussex Police are advising people to go to their local events during the bonfire season.

Regional Operations Manager for Resilience Chris Stamp, from South East Coast Ambulance Service, said: “Common fireworks injuries include burns and eye injuries. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that injury figures support the advice that the safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display – far fewer people are injured here than at smaller family or private parties. We hope that people heed this advice.”

Staying local can also help reduce the number of cars on the move on longer journeys late at night when drivers may be tired after enjoying a celebration further afield.