East Devon MP Hugo Swire has written to the chief of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service over proposals to close Budleigh Salterton fire station. He wants ‘further clarification’ over coverage for the town, should the closure go ahead.
Mr Swire met with Lee Howell earlier this week and asked him about the plans to reallocate fire engines and crews – which could lead to the closure of two stations in Devon, including the one at Budleigh Salterton.
At the time of the meeting, Mr Howell stressed that his service wants to continue with its ‘proactive prevention work’ to further reduce call-outs.
Mr Swire was told tougher furniture regulations and lifestyle changes have seen the number of fires decrease by 33 per cent nationally over the past 10 years.
He said: “It is my view that we must ensure no reduction in coverage or incident response times from these changes. The fire service plays an integral role in many serious road traffic accidents. I therefore encourage you to please take part in the consultation to have your say here.
“I am awaiting a reply from Mr Howell after I requested further clarification that there would be no reduction in coverage and incident response times were the closure of Topsham and Budleigh Salterton stations to go ahead.”
The public consultation opened on July 3 and will run for 12 weeks.
The fire and rescue service says money saved through station closures or a reduction in fire engines would pay for fire prevention work in the community.
Speaking earlier this month, Pete Bond, DSFRS assistant chief fire officer, said: “We really want to hear what you have to say about the proposed service options, so please use this opportunity to engage with us and have your voice heard.”