Fire stations in Budleigh Salterton and Topsham to close

Fire stations in Budleigh Salterton and Topsham will close, it has been confirmed.

The Devon and Somerset Fire Authority this morning (Friday) backed controversial proposals 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.

Topsham fire station will be relocated to the service’s HQ at Clyst St George until an on-call crew can be established at Middlemoor in Exeter.

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.

The second fire engines from Crediton, Lynton, Martock and Totnes will also be removed, but Lynton’s second fire appliance will be replaced with a new wildfire 4×4 and all-terrain vehicle.

An alternative vehicle that can transport firefighters will be provided for the other three stations.

Proposals to implement a day crewing only model at Barnstaple, Exmouth and Paignton have been deferred, subject to a revised 24/seven 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.

And 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 also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the service.

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 proposals put forward are derived from the options consulted on, the responses to them, and aim 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 road traffic collision deaths from 33.72 to 33.02.

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