Plans to cut fire services in Exmouth have been branded ‘flawed’ and ‘outrageous’
PUBLISHED: 10:40 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:23 11 September 2019
‘Flawed and outrageous’ – Fire service bosses have been told to go back to the drawing board over planned cuts to Exmouth’s emergency services.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service's plans will see Exmouth's full time crews reduced from 24 hour cover to daytime shifts with on-call 'retained' crews called out for incidents overnight.
The proposals would also see eight stations close across the two counties including Budleigh Salterton, Topsham and Colyton.
Exmouth Town Council held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday (September 10), with councillors agreeing the proposals presented a risk to safety of residents in Exmouth and the surrounding communities.
A motion put forward by Councillor David Poor and seconded by Cllr Tim Dumper, to oppose the proposals and ask for a new consultation document which 'takes fully into account the concern of this and other councils, organisations and residents', was unanimously supported.
The motion also called for the council to collaborate with other councils and groups to oppose the plans.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Poor said the proposals are 'flawed'.
He said: "What worries me most about the proposals is the lack of recognition about the nature of Exmouth and the surrounding villages and towns.
"We all know that we have a higher than average number of elderly people lucky enough to be living here with a large number of residential homes.
"We are a major holiday destination with Sandy Bay caravan park, hotels and B&Bs and day visitors."
Cllr Maddy Chapman called the proposals 'outrageous'.
Cllr Bruce de Saram added: "Exmouth will receive no benefit if this proposal goes ahead."
Cllr Cherry Nicholas said: "If we lose our 24-hour cover, it's never ever going to be given back."
Cllr Fred Caygill said the number of call-outs is not decreasing and, with Exmouth continuing to grow, congestion of the roads is going to make it difficult for retained firefighters to get to the station any quicker.
He said: "To cut the full-time status of Exmouth firefighters to retained cover is a retrograde step.
"A town with this stature needs 24-hour cover."
The public consultation runs until Sunday, September 22. To take part go to the Safer Together website
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