Fire service recommends closure of Budleigh station, move Topsham and postpone Exmouth 24/7 crew changes

Budleigh Salterton fire station faces closure, with firefighters responding from Exmouth, after Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) published its recommendations following last year’s public consultation.

Exmouth’s 24-hour cover is recommended to continue for the time being as the fire service has called to defer a decision on replacing full-time firefighters with daytime crews and on-call at night.

The fire service has published its findings from the 2019 Safer Together consultation and is recommending for approval by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority (FA) to close Budleigh’s fire station, and have its firefighters respond from Exmouth instead.

The findings also recommend moving Topsham fire station, relocating it to DSFRS headquarters at Clyst St George.

And fire service is recommending the FA approves DSRFS postpones scrapping 24-hour cover at Exmouth in favour of daytime crewing only.

Colyton’s fire station, which DSFRS proposed to close, has been spared.

Sidmouth and Honiton will keep their second fire engines, which DSFRS planned to scrap.

The recommendations will go before the Fire Authority in a week’s time, on Friday, January 10.

The changes that DSFRS is recommending for approval by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority are to:

  • Defer the decision to implement day crewing at Barnstaple, Exmouth and Paignton subject to a revised 24/7 crewing model being agreed with the Fire Brigades Union, including roving appliances, before the end of the 19/20 financial year.
  • Close Budleigh Salterton fire station and allow affected firefighters to respond from Exmouth fire station.
  • Relocate Topsham fire station to Service Headquarters (Clyst St George) and relocate one of the fire engines to Middlemoor fire station (both fire engines to be relocated to Service Headquarters until an on-call crew can be established at Middlemoor).
  • Remove the third fire engines from Bridgwater, Taunton, Torquay and Yeovil.
  • Remove the second fire engines from Crediton, Lynton, Martock and Totnes.
  • Introduce variable fire engine availability dependent on risk.

Lee Howell, DSFRS Chief Fire Officer, said: “Last summer we consulted on a number of options for change. We have also recently received Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) report which highlighted areas where we need to improve.

“After reflecting on staff suggestions, public feedback and considering how we need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the service, we have recommended a balanced set of proposals for consideration by the Fire Authority.

“We are presenting a significant investment in our ‘on call’ staff which will directly improve the availability of our fire engines.

“At the same time, we are suggesting closure of one fire station (Budleigh Salterton), relocation of another (Topsham) as well as removal of a number of low activity fire engines.

“Importantly, 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.”

The fire service said, during the consultation, it held 27 drop-in sessions – attended by nearly 2,000 people, and had a total of 3,818 responses. It received: 3,232 completed questionnaires, 205 written submissions and 381 email responses. In addition, five petitions were submitted with a total of 43,644 signatures.

  • Read the DSFRS consultation findings and report here 

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