Sad news as Fire Authority approves Crediton one pump plan

By Crediton Courier Newspaper   |   Editorial   |
Friday 10th January 2020 2:43 pm
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THE Devon and Somerset Fire Authority this morning, Friday, approved plans to remove second fire appliances from stations at Crediton, Lynton, Martock and Totnes.

The meeting confirmed that Budleigh Salterton and Topsham fire stations will close.

The Authority backed the controversial proposals that had been put forward to save cash but also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Service.

Budleigh Salterton fire station will close and the affected firefighters will now respond from Exmouth Fire Station, while Topsham fire station will be relocated to Service Headquarters (Clyst St George), until an on-call crew can be established at Middlemoor.

The third fire engines from Bridgwater, Taunton, Torquay and Yeovil stations will also be removed, but will instead be replaced with alternative vehicles that have a firefighting capability.

Lynton’s second fire appliance will be replaced with a new wildfire 4×4 and All-Terrain Vehicle and an alternative vehicle that can transport firefighters will be provided for the other three stations.

Proposals to implement day crewing only model at Barnstaple, Exmouth and Paignton have been deferred, subject to a revised 24/7 crewing model being agreed with the Fire Brigades Union.

Risk-based availability will be introduced for the second fire engines at Brixham, Dartmouth, Honiton, Ilfracombe, Okehampton, Sidmouth, Tavistock, Teignmouth, Tiverton, Wells and Williton, rather than initial plans to only crew the second engine at night. Chard, Frome and Wellington will retain its second fire engine.

A reprieve for Appledore, Ashburton, Colyton, Kingston, Porlock, and Woolacombe stations – initially set to close – has been granted, after councillors agreed with the recommendation to save them for closure for the time being.

The decision follows 3,818 responses to the initial proposals that saw 95 per cent of people opposed to all six closure options put forward.

The proposals were part of plans that not only would make financial savings for the Authority but would also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Service, but one response.

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer, said: “We are confident that we can secure alternative ways of working with our whole time staff which will allow us to undertake significantly more prevention and protection activity which will also make communities safer.”

He said that the proposals they have put forward derive from the options consulted on and the consultation responses and aims to strike the balance between driving reform and enabling reallocation of resources to risk, specifically providing more prevention and protection activity.

He added that the new proposals would also cut the risk of fire deaths from 7.99 a year to 7.65 a year, and RTC deaths from 33.72 to 33.02.

The Fire Authority Members are appointed by the constituent authorities of Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Torbay Council and Plymouth City Council to oversee the provision of fire and rescue services for the geographical counties of Devon and Somerset.

In total, there are 26 members of the Authority, consisting of 16 Conservatives, five from Labour, four from the Liberal Democrats, and one Independent.

By Alan Quick and Daniel Clarke

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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