Exeter: Plans go in to turn town’s old fire station into a new bar and brewery

The great-great grandson of Topsham fire service founder hopes to turn his relative’s old stomping ground, near Exeter, into a brewery and bar.

Topsham’s former fire station, in Fore Street, could be turned into a trendy brewery and tap house, writes local democracy reporter Ollie Heptinstall.

The building closed in 2020 when the town’s two fire engines were transferred to Middlemoor, in Exeter, and the fire and rescue service’s headquarters at Clyst St George.

Since then, the premises has been vacant and for sale, but now a full planning application has been submitted to Exeter City Council after the fire station was purchased by a family who have close a personal connection with it.

Applicant Dan Gould’s great-great-grandfather, Henry Gould, started Topsham’s fire service in 1907, and his great-grandfather Henry Charles Gould was subsequently chief fire officer for 29 years.

As a result, the new owner wants to bring the building back into use whilst retaining links to its past. Proposed to be called ‘The Old Firestation’, they hope to turn it into a brewery and tap house for Crossed Anchors Brewery, which is based in Exmouth.

“Crossed Anchors plan to move some of their brewing to Topsham with a plan to breathe new life into this once busy building,” the planning application states. “This will create a new brewery, a tap room and an events space perfect for all the community.


The old fire station in Fore Street, Topsham.
Image: ECC

“The intention is to give more than a nod to the fire station’s history by maintaining as many features as possible. The brewery will be a local attraction, community hub and busy active space.”

Designed by architects Hilton Barnfield, the venue is designed to “create an open plan layout yet still retaining a friendly and ‘cozy’ atmosphere within.”

The application adds: “Little change is proposed to the overall appearance of the building, with the existing brick finish maintained. The grandeur of the existing fire station doors will be maintained, and a glazed veranda added to the front elevation.”

The plan also includes a brick plinth outside featuring a fireman’s helmet as a “dedication to those that served with Topsham’s Fire Service.”


An artist’s impression, seen in planning application documents, of how the new bar will look.
Image: ECC.

The application is expected to be considered the city council’s planning committee later this year.


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