Devon County Council voted against discussing whether they should make any formal response over proposed fire service cuts.
Cllr Martin Shaw, who represents the Colyton ward who could lose their fire station, put forward a motion to Thursday’s full council meeting, calling on the council to urge the Fire Authority not to proceed with any of the seven proposed options.
He asked for his motion to be debated on the day, and not referred to cabinet and then to come back to full council, as is the normal procedure, as by the time this process would have been completed, the Fire Authority would have held their meeting.
Cllr Shaw: “I want this to be discussed today due to the impact it will have on the residents of Devon and by the time it has gone through cabinet and back to full council, the decision will have been made.”
But despite Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent Group councillors voting to discuss the motion on the day, the ruling Conservative Group voted against it and instead wished it to be referred to the cabinet.
As a result of the decision, Cllr Shaw withdrew the motion as there would be no point in it coming back to full council after the decision had been made.
After the meeting, he said it was a ‘disgraceful episode’ and accused the Conservatives of planning to vote through the station closures.
His motion had said: “This County Council expresses its concern at the failure of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to formally consult the Council, especially in the light of our role as partner under civil contingency legislation.
“This Council believes that the Service has not presented sufficiently detailed and costed proposals for additional prevention and protection work to outweigh the undoubted extra risk to many Devon residents from the closure of fire stations and removals of engines involved in the consultation proposals.
“In this light Council urges the members of the Fire Authority not to proceed with any of the options but to ask for further work by the Service on the future pattern of provision.”
Somerste County Council earlier this month slammed the proposal and said they would work with the fire authority to improve fire prevention – for instance, by encouraging people to stop smoking and taking steps to reduce the number of false alarms.
It also said the plans “do not appeal to fully appreciate” the impact cuts would have on deprived areas, or the growing and ageing population of the whole county, and they criticised the nature and layout of the consultation, saying it “appears to lead the reader’s thinking, has limited detail and does not allow for innovative thinking”.
(Image: Ed Oldfield)
Torbay Council’s cabinet had also voted unanimously to reject proposals for service changes from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.
The full changes are:
The full changes are:
- close eight fire stations in Appledore, Ashburton, Budleigh Salterton, Colyton, Kingston, Porlock, Topsham, and Woolacombe;
- cut night cover at fire stations in Barnstaple, Exmouth, and Paignton;
- cut the second fire engine at Crediton, Lynton, Martock and Totnes fire stations;
- cut the third fire engine from Bridgwater, Taunton, Torquay, and Yeovil fire stations;
- cut the day cover for the 2nd fire engine at 14 stations in Brixham, Chard, Dartmouth, Frome, Honiton, Ilfracombe, Okehampton, Sidmouth, Tavistock, Teignmouth, Tiverton, Wells, Wellington, and Williton.
The Fire Authority meets on November 8.