Proposals to discuss fire station closures at county council rejected again

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 December 2019

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

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

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Devon County Council has again voted against discussing proposed fire service cuts in the region.

Councillors voted against a motion to put pressure on the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority to allow county councillors to speak at a crunch meeting next month.

Cllr Martin Shaw, who represents the Seaton and Colyton ward, put forward the motion at a full council meeting on Thursday (December 5).

Fire Authority standing orders do not currently allow councillors to speak on behalf of their constituents.

Cllr Shaw had asked for the motion to be debated on the day, and not referred to cabinet and then to come back to full council, as by that time, the Fire Authority would have held their meeting.

He said: "If this is referred to the cabinet, it will return to council in February, which is too late for the issues to which the motion is concerned of.

"There are eight of us in the council who are affected by this, but our rights are restricted in the way the fire authority restricts us in addressing them."

But councillors voted against discussing the motion on the day.

Only Cllr Shaw, Cllr Frank Biederman, Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, Cllr Alan Connett and Cllr Alistair Dewhirst voted in favour of the motion being discussed on the day.

It is the second time Cllr Shaw has put forward a motion relating to fire stations closures only to have discussion on it blocked.

In October, a motion calling for the council to urge the Fire Authority not to proceed with any of the seven proposed options was put forward, but was referred to the cabinet.

The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service was due to decide on a range of proposals that could see eight rural fire stations close at a meeting on December 18.

But the meeting was cancelled and instead will be on Friday, January 10.

The proposals could see the closure of Appledore, Ashburton, Budleigh Salterton, Colyton, Kingston, Porlock, Topsham and Woolacombe stations - described by the fire service as 'low risk, low activity stations, which are in close proximity to other fire stations'.


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