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PROPOSALS to merge two fire services to save money have taken a step forward.

A public consultation will take place to decide if fire services in West Sussex and East Sussex should merge.

Councillor Pete Bradbury, who is in charge of the fire service at West Sussex County Council, said: ‘Our priority remains to provide excellent fire and rescue services to our residents. In the current difficult financial climate, we believe this innovative approach of merging the fire services of East and West Sussex and Brighton & Hove could enable us to continue to deliver excellent services and improve our operational capability, whilst reducing back office, management and administration costs.

‘The views of the public are important to us and I hope residents, businesses, organisations and stakeholders will participate in the consultation. No decision will be made until the results of the consultation have been considered.’

The consultation begins on July 14 and runs until October 6.

Full details of how to get involved in the consultation will be released next week.