Community could be given chance to buy Topsham Fire Station after facility shuts later this year

Community groups could be given the chance to buy Topsham Fire Station after it shuts later this year. 

Crews based in the town will transfer to facilities at Middlemoor, Exeter, and at Clyst St George before the end of the year.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) decided to relocate Topsham’s two engines in January as part of its cost-cutting Safer Together consultation.

The Fire Authority unanimously agreed on Friday (October 23) that, before the Fore Street station is put on the open market, a meeting is held to explore whether there is a feasible community plan for its ‘disposal’.

Proposing the move, Councillor Rob Hannaford said: “The closure of Topsham was a controversial move and a good compromise has been made with moving to the HQ, but I don’t feel that this paper reflects the spirit of the discussions.

“I still think it is worth discussing with the local members and charity sector in Topsham before we go out to market to see if there is a feasible business plan that could be put together.

“The fire station is at the heart of the local community and, if there was ever a place to make things stack up, I think Topsham is that place, and they ought to be given the opportunity to do so.

“If it comes back there is not an appetite or it is not feasible, then we go for the best value, but I do think we have to be careful and respect the local community.

“There should be a meeting with the local county and three city council members to explore options around community use before going to the market.”

Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, chair of the committee, said that this would not mean the site would be disposed of at a reduced rate.

She added: “No decision would be made yet, but this would explore if there is any appetite in community to come forward with a plan that fits within our tight criteria.”

Topsham Fire Station to close by the end of the year as service looks at ‘disposal’ of building