Town council funding boost for fire station community workshop bid

Helen Warren (Chaiman, Chamber of Commerce), Bill McDermott (Chair BCWT), Mike Hilliar (Town Mayor),

Helen Warren (Chaiman, Chamber of Commerce), Bill McDermott (Chair BCWT), Mike Hilliar (Town Mayor), Katie McDermott (Trustee), Dr Richard Mejzner and Marc Jobson (Budleigh Hub). Picture: Rosemarie Davis - Credit: Rosemarie Davis

A bid to secure Budleigh Salterton’s former fire station for the community has been boosted by a donation from the town council.

At its virtual meeting on Monday (August 17), Budleigh Salterton Town Council agreed to donate £5,000 to the Budleigh Community Workshop Trust (BCWT), which is looking to buy the closed fire station.

Councillors also agreed to pledge £25,000 towards the refurbishment of the fire station, should the purchase be completed.

The building, which closed in April, is set to go under the hammer on September 10 with a guide price of £125,000.

BCWT, which is looking to create a community workshop in Budleigh for 24 months, has been fundraising to allow them to bid for the fire station to convert it into a workshop which can be used by the whole community.

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Bill McDermott, chairman of the trust, told councillors ‘considerable funds’ had already been raised and he was looking for a donation towards the purchase of the building.

He told councillors they already had more than £28,000 ring-fenced for the refurbishment.

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Councillors said pledging £25,000 would allow the ring-fenced money to be used for the purchase of the building.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr McDermott said: “I believe there is an expectation from our supporters that we will succeed in acquiring the fire station and I suspect they would be very sad if this did not happen or we failed because we did not raise sufficient funds locally.”

However, councillors Henry Riddell and Roger Sheriff raised concerns over spending public money on a bidding process.

Cllr Sheriff added: “It’s a fantastic scheme but it’s a commercial process and I am not comfortable with the council getting involved with that – I would be happy to pledge funds for the refurbishment.”

County councillor Christine Channon warned that developers have been looking at the site in Station Road.

She added: “I do think a small donation from the town council will be verry instrumental.

“What is quite frightening is that all the developers are looking at the fire station.”

To contribute to BCWT’s Crowdfunder, go to the website

If you are able to help in any way please get in touch through Bill McDermott or the Budleigh Hub

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