To consider the consultation document and prepare a response.
The Chair introduced this item and thanked Councillor Ford and Councillor Hackett for putting together a document in response to the seven option Safer Together Consultation document published by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.
The Consultation document included proposals to close Appledore Fire Station and the change in status (removal of full time crewing) of Barnstaple, which is used to back up resources in the Torridge area and is also the nearest location of an hydraulic platform.
Councillor Hackett addressed the meeting and gave a brief resume of the document prepared by himself and Councillor Ford. The findings in the document are as a result of in-depth discussions with serving Fire Service Officers and through research online.
Councillor Ford requested that the minutes of this meeting be sent to the Clerk to Mortehoe Parish Council.
Councillor Ford informed the Committee of the information he had been given by serving fire men. During his discussions with the fire officers, it had been mentioned that in the future there is a possibility that both Bideford and Appledore Fire Stations relocate to Heywood Road, Northam.
A lengthy discussion followed, during which a number of issues and concerns were raised, including:
The amalgamation of both Bideford and Appledore fire stations – Councillor Hackett responded to questions with regard to staff losses and costs involved – there would be no staff losses, but it would assist in recruiting firemen who need the capability to get to a fire quickly, which at present is proving difficult. With regard to the costs, he had been told by a fire officer that the new Station would only need to be “garage” type and by combining the assets, the two sites at present could be sold and the monies used for the new facility.
Concerns with regard to the statistic figures in the report – needs to be challenged.
Lack of confidence between on the ground staff and management.
Survey to be completed by the public – not user friendly.
Stronger justification – to include in the recommendations, the changes in the urban area and the housing increase, the changes to location and the density of the population throughout the area.
Two responses are required – a Devon and Somerset global response and a local response. Councillor Ford read to the meeting consultations notes he had prepared.
The document prepared by Councillor Hackett and Councillor Ford to be submitted subject to the following amendment:
On the second page to delete the sentence, starting “This has happened and instances ………….”
GLOBAL RESPONSE - Devon and Somerset Consultation Document
It was proposed by Councillor Ford, seconded by Councillor Langford that this Committee, in response to the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Consultation, make the following recommendations:
· This Committee supports proposals to review and realise aspects of Fire Service delivery.
· We strongly recommend that the Fire Service further takes account of projected population increases in the area.
· We take the view that service reorganisation undertaken currently with cost savings is proven less effective.
· We strongly oppose any reduction in service provision under current changing circumstances in the area.
· We are concerned that the public consultation document does not allow for an open-ended and creative response.
· We request a 12 month moratorium for further consideration of these issues.
(Vote: For – Unanimous)
It was proposed by Councillor Langford, seconded by Councillor Newton that this Committee, in response to the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Consultation, makes the following recommendations:
· That the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue consultation process takes account of the attached document set by Councillors L Ford and P Hackett.
· Future proving the delivery of our local fire service being fully recruited given the increased population growth
(Vote: For – Unanimous)
It was agreed that copies of the responses from this Committee be sent to:
Clerk to Morethoe Parish Council
North Devon Council
Geoffrey Cox MP
Devon County Council Representatives
Town and Parish Councils
The Committee thanked Councillors Ford and Hackett for the preparation of the base document.