Fire station plan gets a roasting

PUBLISHED: 15:08 10 April 2013 | UPDATED: 15:40 10 April 2013

Axminster fire station

Axminster fire station

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A scheme to combine Axminster's emergency services in a single building on a busy housing estate are being opposed by the town council

Plans to combine Axminster’s emergency services in a single building on a busy housing estate are being strongly opposed by local councillors.

Fire chiefs have applied for permission to extend their HQ at Lyme Close and provide an office for the police.

But town councillors fear the plan is short-sighted and could put lives at risk.

They say the fire station site is too near a busy, often congested road and more thought should have gone into relocating it to nearer the existing police station, which is close to the main Lyme Road.

Now members of the planning committee have formally lodged an objection to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service’s application to extend and alter their current building.

They have told East Devon District Council they “oppose this proposal as it is felt that there has been insufficient willingness on the part of the various authorities to co-operate in achieving a multi-agency community building on the site of the present police station and former magistrates’ court which would be better suited in terms of vehicle access and movements.

“There are objections to the promotion of the existing site as there are known highway problems for vehicles emerging at speed onto a section of road which is on a hill and often obstructed by parked and passing vehicles which would not be the case if the facility were to be at the Lyme Road end of Lea Combe.

Devon Fire and Rescue Service’s planning application is for a two-storey extension to provide more accommodation, a widened appliance bay, lecture room, office, changing room and toilets. There would also be a new training tower.

It says: “The extension and alterations are required to enable the fire station to meet current policies relating to community access, health and safety, dignity at work and disability discrimination.”

The extension would also include provision of office accommodation for use by the local police.

Veteran town councillor Douglas Hull has led opposition to the plan.

He says it fails to take account of the growing traffic congestion in Lyme Close and the town’s planned expansion to the north.

He said: “We have to plan our facilities not just for 10 years ahead but for the next 30 to 40 years.

“The majority of houses and people living in Axminster will be on the Chard side. The fire brigade should join the police at the present police station area thus giving them instant access to all points of call.”

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