Fire cuts would be a disgrace

I grew up in Exmouth and my parents still live there. I m a wholetime (full-time) firefighter in Shrewsbury and think that the proposed cuts are absolutely disgraceful. Exmouth needs full-time cover as it is a town on the increase. The nearest wholetime

I grew up in Exmouth and my parents still live there. I'm a wholetime (full-time) firefighter in Shrewsbury and think that the proposed cuts are absolutely disgraceful. Exmouth needs full-time cover as it is a town on the increase. The nearest wholetime appliance is in Exeter, some 25 minutes away. Retains serve a purpose in some rural areas, but Exmouth needs full-time cover. I worry for my parents' safety. Firefighters don't just attend fires, they attend a whole range of incidents. We are the last port of call for many people. When people dial 999, the fire service is the only emergency service guaranteed to attend. Firefighters are vital members of the community, offering fire safety advice, interacting with schools and clubs, doing routine inspections on hotels, shops, offices etc, to maintain public safety. Retained personnel cannot offer this facility - they have their proper jobs to do! A full-time firefighter spends more hours at their initial training course than a retained firefighter does in their whole career. When you see a fire appliance drive by, you feel proud they're putting your safety first. You never know when you might need them. Miss Tean Treharne,9 Thornton Road, Shrewsbury. ASDA STORE WILL BENEFIT THE TOWNASDA read with interest some of the views expressed in last week's Journal.Regeneration of the run-down bus depot site will provide an opportunity to give local residents a raft of new facilities, including a sports centre, swimming pool, public transport facility, library and supermarket.We see this as great news for Exmouth. It's a chance to enhance that area of town and ensure shoppers stay local - instead of travelling out of Exmouth to use other supermarkets.Rather than impact local traders as some suggest, a new ASDA store can successfully bring people into a town centre and have a positive benefit for other businesses. A survey at one of our new stores last year showed 64 per cent of shoppers undertook linked trips between the ASDA and town centre.Indeed, ASDA prides itself on being part of a community when it opens a store. Our colleagues work hard to establish relationships with local groups, support charities and establish links with local producers and suppliers. Each of our stores stocks a range of locally sourced goods - again a positive impact for smaller businesses in an area. For example, our Newton Abbot store - which opened in 2006 - already stocks a range of local and regionally sourced products, ranging from various meats to scones, crisps, cream, mints and bin liners.Of course we recognise the unique nature of Exmouth and this site in particular, which is why serious consideration will be given to the design of the buildings proposed and why we will take advice from specialist environmental consultants prior to submission of a planning applicationOver the coming months we will consider our proposals in much more detail. During this time we will consult fully with the local community, not only to keep people updated, but also to answer questions and seek local views.We hope this will give us an opportunity to address many of the mistruths which will no doubt be put forward in response to the proposals, particularly the unfounded allegations of bribery expressed by some correspondents last week.Allison Darling,Property Communications Manager, ASDA.OVER-RIDING LOCAL OPPOSITIONThe reporting of the East Devon District Council/ASDA proposal is another example of spin. The proponents are masters of public relations, releasing the bad news just before Christmas when everyone is too busy to object. How audacious and provocative of them to over-ride the intense local opposition to the proposal.We would like to hear from the councillors who are representing the 10,000 residents who signed a petition against this development. Just one, Councillor Ben Ingham from outside Exmouth, has raised our concerns in the Journal dated January 10. Recently, there were excellent plans put forward in the Journal by two residents, with drawings to illustrate how a food-only supermarket could be situated at the London Inn site. EDDC have to date failed to comment on this excellent proposal.It is obvious that the EDDC's decision was based on which supermarket chain offered the most money, rather than what the majority of the people of Exmouth preferred. The reporting so far has been unbalanced, therefore the Journal should run a survey to find residents' views. David and Margaret Ritchie,6 Kincraig,Cranford Avenue,Exmouth.EDITOR'S NOTE: it is unfair to say the reporting of the ASDA proposal has been unbalanced. We have published every letter received on the subject and also the views of councillors. We also recently took to the streets to ask residents for their views. UNSUITABILITY OF AN ASDA STOREWe endorse the views of both Mike Fairclough and Martin White regarding the unsuitability of an ASDA store in Exmouth for all the reasons given. It is well known in marketing circles that certain types of store raise the business potential of a town, such as Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Pizza Express. ASDA does not feature on such lists, in our opinion.Patricia and Roderick Gill,12 Bicton Place, Exmouth.LISTEN TO THE PEOPLEIs Councillor Williamson serious or delusional? His letter printed in the Journal on January 17 leaves little doubt that it is probably the latter. How is he able to judge the views of the public by listening to small talk in a barber's shop with the very limited opportunity is available for a decent debate. One thing that Cllr Williamson has failed to recognise is that he is presenting himself as the only one with any views that are important. He would be far better if he were to act as a responsible councillor, refraining from entering into a debate in the press to allow him the chance to really understand the views of the peopleOf course, he can pat himself on the back because he considers himself a man of the people, while living in his large home, cut off from the common influence of a whole council estate, where there is considerable deprivation and where often there is little spare money for anything, let alone the delights that he can pour over his cat or even to choke upon (whilst enjoying his lobster), while at the same time claims to represent these residents on the council.While Cllr Ingham may not live in the Avenues or represent that "deprived" area of Exmouth, he is quite right in his views of the size and style of a supermarket and the benefits that we, the residents and taxpayers of Exmouth, would most benefit from and I, for one, have welcomed his input into the discussion. He is at least in contact with the people and listens to them. Roger Allen,(via email).PREPOSTEROUS TO CUT PIOLICE COVERI feel that I must reply to Richard Hadley's letter "Cut police not our fire cover" printed in the Exmouth Journal on January17.The thought of cutting police resources by at least half is a preposterous idea.If this were ever to be implemented, I know that the general public would certainly notice that the police had gone, and I guess Mr Hadley would as well.Does he not realise that the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary also do a great job 24 hours a day, every day?May I point out the fact that police officers do not have the luxury of being idle in the police station, while waiting for their expertise to be called upon.They are active for the full time that they spend on their shift, dealing with far greater incidents, which often involve danger to themselves.A serving police officer(name and address withheld).OUR ROADS WILL BE CONGESTEDBen Ingham has a good and valid point in that the undoubted opportunity that exists at Exmouth should not be squandered by entering into negotiations with ASDA without a comprehensive marketing exercise, giving all parties equal opportunity to bid on the same basis, one which should have been approved by the people of Exmouth. Have all the parties invited to bid had the benefit of the same information? Have the people of Exmouth been able to consider the basis upon which bids were invited? Will EDDC simply take the highest bid?Is it true that part of Phear Park, a public open space protected in the Local Plan, is to be reduced in size to provide a site for the new sports/ pool complex? Was this known to all bidders? Were the people of Exmouth aware of this before bids were invited?Can it be financially sensible to demolish a perfectly acceptable modern sports/pool complex? Surely there is a cost that represents a lost opportunity for an alternative gain from a scheme?It is a fact known to EDDC that Waitrose would like to open a store in Exmouth. Were they invited to bid? A food-only retail superstore would complement and strengthen the existing town centre shopping rather than undermine the viability of existing businesses.Does Exmouth really need an ASDA, with its wide range of products and WALMART's huge purchasing power that will out-compete many existing businesses in the town centre? ASDA stores sell electricals, entertainment CDs and DVDs etc, financial services, furniture, flowers and mobile phones, as well as having opticians, pharmacies, travel, newsagents and books. They may also sell clothing. Many town centre businesses will suffer.The next nearest ASDA stores are Newton Abott, Taunton and Yeovil so there is a huge catchment of population whose closest ASDA will become Exmouth. Is this the point? Does Exmouth want or need to attract shoppers from the wider region looking for their nearest ASDA? The A376 is already badly congested so what are the traffic implications for that road? If an ASDA is built, does that mean that the dualing of the A376 becomes inevitable? Does it mean that the link to Dinan Way has to be built up the Wootton Valley?ASDA will say what it has to say to develop its business, but it is up to the people of Exmouth to open their eyes and see fully the real consequences of inviting them in. R C Jones,Valley Barn, Colaton Raleigh.LET'S SAVE THE NORTHCOTTREGARDING the threat to the Northcott Theatre.I have visited the Arts Council of England and South West - their offices are very up-market - to deliver a letter of support for the theatre.I do hope the Arts Council in Exeter and London would reconsider funding to keep the Northcott Theatre open for future productions and not close down this beautiful theatre. I am thinking about how many people will be made redundant if the Arts Council decided to bring about the closure of this theatre. I have enjoyed the Northcott, having been in a couple of shows. I have also supported the professional shows at the Rougmont Gardens - much better than waiting for a train or a bus that never arrives on time to see shows at the other professional theatres like Plymouth or Torquay. I've read a comment that the Northcott has an ageing audience. I would disagree - there is a mixed audience of young and old, but mostly young. Richard Bealey,27 Lower AvenueHeavitree, Exeter.

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