Emergency services have warned that Lewes “isn’t built” to hold the crowds expected for the annual bonfire celebrations this weekend.

Speaking ahead of Bonfire Night on Saturday, November 5, representatives from Sussex Police said that the narrow streets and “pinch points” within the town are factors being considered in the response to this year’s event.

Lewes District Council has also said that as many as 50,000 to 60,000 could attend the event as it is held on a weekend this year, urging those who may travel to enjoy their local displays instead.

Howard Hodges, gold commander at Sussex Police and chairman of the multi-agency planning group, said: “The infrastructure of Lewes isn’t built for the number of people who historically attend.

“One of the concerns we have is around the small town with a number of pinch points. We need to reduce the number of people in the town in the first place.”

As the biggest event in the town, the Lewes Bonfire celebrations often attract large crowds to the area and fill the narrow streets.

The Argus: Lewes Bonfire night often leads to very crowded streetsLewes Bonfire night often leads to very crowded streets

As part of the multi-agency response to the event, organised by the traditional bonfire societies, those thinking of attending are being urged to go to other events.

Tim Whelan, director of service delivery at Lewes District Council, said: “The bonfire night is the biggest event for Lewes and it’s steeped in tradition, but we think it should be an event for local people.”

This year’s event may also be affected by a number of different factors including an unpredictable weather forecast and disruption to travel.

Rail strikes by the RMT union mean that those wishing to attend will not be able to do so by train and road closures will be in place from 4pm in the afternoon until around midnight according to Mr Whelan.

Doug Marshall, west group manager for East Sussex Fire and Rescue, also added that the event “increases the risk of injury by fire” and that the number of people brings an “inevitable unpredictability” to the event.

Lewes Bonfire Night will take place on Saturday, November 5 and will include a number of road closures and disruptions throughout the town.