High demand of submissions pushes fire meeting back a month

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service HQ. Picture: Callum Lawton

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service HQ. Picture: Callum Lawton - Credit: Archant

Talks deciding the fate of a number of East and North Devon fire stations have been pushed back a month.

Fire Authority members will meet on Wednesday, December 18, to discuss changes to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service's operation - which has been labelled the biggest shake-up in five decades.

The authority was due to meet in early November but has moved the meeting following a high response to its 12 week consultation.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority received around 3,300 completed surveys, 700 written submissions, and five petitions to its proposals.

Residents were consulted on proposals to modernise the service which include reducing fire appliances and stations of areas of low risk and low activity.

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There were seven options put forward.

The first six involve station closures at Appledore, Ashburton, Budleigh Salterton, Colyton, Kingston, Porlock, Topsham and Woolacombe. Most options also involve a reduction in cover at other stations.

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The seventh was a mix and match option.

The responses will be independently analysed by Opinion Research Services (ORS) who will provide the Authority with the findings from the consultation.

Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: "I'd like to thank the thousands of people who have taken the time to share their views through the consultation. It has been a great opportunity to openly discuss our challenges and proposed solutions with people across our two counties.

"I appreciate that moving the decision extends the uncertainty for our staff and communities who are affected by the proposals.

"We don't take any proposals to close stations or remove fire engines lightly which is why it is vital that we take time to thoroughly analyse and carefully consider the responses."

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