Colyton Fire Station
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service planned closure of Colyton Fire Station and downgrading of Honiton and Tiverton stations
|After member of Devon and Somerset Fire Service visited us at our July Honiton and Axe Valley Branch meeting, we were able to put pressure on the local council to resist cuts to the service.
Statement by Anna Day Lewis, Labour Party member in Colyton on behalf of Honiton and Axe Vale Labour Party to the 25 July 2019 – EDDC Overview Committee Meeting:
“I am commenting on behalf of Honiton and Axe Valley Labour Party on the district council response to the Fire and Rescue Service consultation.
Colyton is Britain’s oldest fire station, dating from 1681. Even our medieval ancestors were more visionary than this present government, prudently importing the latest in fire-fighting technology for the benefit of the community, with an appropriate sense of humanity.
The Labour Party opposes both the closure of Colyton Fire Station and the downgrading of Honiton Fire Station. All the fire stations at the eastern end of the district are already run on an on-call basis, and even now there are no wholetime fire station services between Exmouth and Dorchester.
The figures used to justify the closures are bewildering. Why is present performance based on 80% staffing availability, but outcomes of the closures based on 100% staffing? How can the response times from other stations to meet Colyton’s needs be justified?
Just this week fire-fighters have released a trapped child in Honiton, but helping people in trouble is excluded from the consultation’s figures. So are the first responder services the fire service undertakes on behalf of the defunded ambulance service, the frontline support it provides to the police, and the public fire and safety training.
When the Clarence Hotel burned down in Exeter almost every engine across Devon responded, but how many stations were given credit for their response? Just one response was included in these official statistics being used to justify more cuts. And with all those engines engaged in Exeter, which station was meanwhile supporting the safety of our residents? You guessed it : Colyton Fire Station.
Just today Colyton was on standby, covering a farm fire near Bridport, but will they be given credit in the official figures? No.
Independent analysis shows that over 600,000 people annually face increased risk of death by fire under any of the current proposals. With significant population growth built into our local plans, the problem can only become worse. The population of Colyton is elderly, and statistically more vulnerable to fire, and I’m afraid to say apt to nod off with something on the stove.
Firefighters routinely give many hours over and above what they are contracted to provide, and are subsidising the service with their goodwill in spite of ongoing cuts to real wages and benefits. We can’t afford to lose the goodwill of the real people providing public services at the heart of our communities.
These cuts are not penny wise and they are pound foolish. Labour calls upon the district council to strongly oppose all of the options in the consultation, and to call for the fire station in Colyton, and the two pumps in Honiton, to be retained and properly maintained for the benefit of our district.”