Budleigh Salterton fire station proposed for closure

PUBLISHED: 10:07 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:28 03 January 2020

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Budleigh Salterton’s fire station is earmarked for closure under proposals announced by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters based at Budleigh Salterton will respond from Exmouth fire station if the proposals are agreed by the Fire Authority on Friday, January 10.

The plans will see Topsham fire station relocated to the service HQ at Clyst St George.

But plans to replace 24-hour cover at Exmouth fire station with daytime-only crewing have been postponed, so that a revised arrangement for 24/7 cover can be agreed with the Fire Brigades Union.

A proposal to close Colyton fire station has been scrapped, for the time being, but the station will be subjected to periodic review.

The announcement follows a public consultation on a number of options designed to make more efficient use of the fire service's resources.

They include taking little-used fire appliances out of operation and having a more flexible on-call duty system.

Budleigh Salterton Town Council expressed serious concern about the potential closure of the town's fire station at a meeting in September 2019.

Councillors were worried about how scaling back fire cover would affect response times, particularly in the case of a major incident.

The report that will go before the fire authority explains that the response area for Budleigh Salterton fire station's on-call firefighters falls completely within Exmouth fire stations's 10-minute emergency response area. Therefore, Budleigh Salterton's firefighters could be called to Exmouth instead. The plans will see Budleigh fire station sold, and one fire appliance removed. No compulsory redundancies are expected.

By the same token, Topsham fire station's response area falls within Middlemoor fire station's 10-minute emergency response area. The plans will see Topsham fire station being sold and one of its two appliances moving to the service HQ at Clyst St George; the other will eventually move to Middlemoor. Again, no redundancies are expected.

Elsewhere across the area, Bridgewater, Taunton, Torquay and Yeovil will lose their third 'low activity' fire appliances, and Crediton, Lynton, Martock and Totnes will lose their second fire engines.

In other locations including Sidmouth, risk-based availability will be introduced for the second fire appliances. This is based on the fact that daytime fires are usually detected immediately and can often be dealt with quickly, while night-time incidents tend to require more resources.

The fire service report also explains: "The payment for availability for 'on-call' staff that has been agreed in principle with trade unions will improve availability of 'on-call' fire appliances.

"It is also agreed - with one trade union and discussions ongoing with another - that 'aggregate crewing', where firefighters can be sent to incidents with fewer than four firefighters, be adopted."

For full details of the consultation, its findings, and the fire service's plans for future fire cover across the two counties, click here.

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