Budleigh Community Workshop Trust faces wait over bid for fire station

PUBLISHED: 11:43 03 September 2020

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

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

Archant

Volunteers in Budleigh Salterton hoping to secure the town’s former fire station for community use face an anxious wait to discover if their bid has been successful.

The station closed its doors for the final time in April this year, after Devon and Somerset Fire Authority backed controversial proposals to save cash but also to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Service.

Budleigh Community Workshop Trust (BSWT) has been working on fundraising to bid in an auction on September 10 for the building, with a guide price of £125,000.

The trust had raised £150,000 through fundraising and a successful Crowdfunder campaign boosted that total with an additional £50,000.

However, the fire authority has now decided to scrap the auction and invited sealed bids for the building instead with a deadline of Wednesday, September 2.

The fire authority said they were advised that sealed bids would achieve the ‘best value’.

Now BCWT faces an anxious wait to discover if they have been successful in their bid.

This comes after East Devon District Council unanimously supported pledging £4,867 which helped the trust hit its £50,000 crowdfunding target.

Speaking after the meeting, Bill McDermott, chairman of BCWT said: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the public in getting behind the crowdfunding campaign and also in their enormous enthusiasm for a workshop in the community for the community.

“The public have dug deep and come up trumps.

“We now hope we are able to succeed in our bid to retain the fire station in the community.”

A spokesman for the fire authority said: “We appreciate there is a lot of interest in the future of the site of the former fire station in Budleigh Salterton.

“As a public service, our aim is to secure the best price for any land we sell. The proceeds from the sale are to help us to reinvest in our work to make communities safer, so we want to make sure we get the best outcome.

“We have advertised to sell the site by auction, but we have been advised that inviting sealed bids will achieve best value and gives all interested parties the opportunity to bid.

“We will review these bids before a decision is made.”


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