Lewes Bonfire 2019 - Visitors told to stay away
The police chief in charge of the public safety of Lewes Bonfire has urged the public not to come to the town on November 5.
In a statement on Monday (October 28) Superintendent Howard Hodges, the head of the group responsible for the overall safety of the event, issued a reminder that there will be changes to train services and road closures.
He insisted that measures ‘are being brought in to help the event pass safely’ and that there ‘remain serious concerns about overcrowding’.
Superintendent Hodges said: “Public safety is our priority, and that’s why we are urging everyone to stay local this bonfire night.
“Whilst recognising the tradition of Lewes Bonfire night, it is important the event held – and those attending – are kept safe.
“In order to achieve this, a wide range of partners have worked with the bonfire societies to put practical measures in place.
“This includes road and rail restrictions, which are designed to reduce the number of people coming to Lewes in order to avoid overcrowding.
“We appreciate there will be some disruption on the night as a result, however this has been done in the best interests of public safety. We have also publicised these measures months in advance to ensure people can plan ahead for this one night of the year.
“There are a number of events taking place around Sussex and we’re urging everyone to attend an event near them.”
The group responsible for safety is made up of British Transport Police, South East Coast Ambulance Service, Sussex Police, East Sussex Highways, East Sussex County Council, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Lewes District Council and Southern Rail.
In June the group announced the details of the Lewes Bonfire operation to keep it as ‘safe and trouble-free as possible’.
The annual event always takes place on November 5 unless it falls on a Sunday, when it is held on November 4.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the historical night despite transport restrictions put in place and advice that it is considered an ‘event for locals’.
Events will start from 5pm and run until midnight, or longer. Grand processions tend to start from 8pm, with some not until around 9.30pm.