Fire Service consultation now open – please take part and explain why you want to keep Colyton Fire Station open

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Fire Service consultation

The Fire Authority is now proceeding with their consultation. It is vital that everyone in the Coly Valley and Seaton areas takes part to support Colyton Fire Station, or we will lose not only the extra engine that Colyton provides, but also the team of trained firefighters, who provide an extra resource for the whole area.

The Authority say that they want a ‘meaningful and transparent consultation process’. However there is no serious risk assessment of the individual stations and their areas, just a simplistic one-year infographic.

Moreover ALL the options include closing Colyton and other fire stations. Why is there no option to keep the stations open? How can the consultation be meaningful if this is not available?

The reasons the Authority give for closures are actually reasons for keeping Colyton open:

  1. Shifting population – Colyton and the surrounding area are experiencing continual population growth with many new developments.
  2. High proportion of over-85s – Colyton and the surrounding area have one of the highest ratios of older people not just in Devon and Somerset, but in the country.
  3. Changing road networks making it easier to get to incidents – this does not apply to Colyton and surrounding villages which are served by a dense network of rural roads – local knowledge is essential to reach incidents speedily.

You have until 22nd September to respond – but please fill in the questionnaire NOW! Don’t support any of the options – keep Colyton Fire Station!

After Monday’s 100-strong protest made TV headlines, today the fight for Colyton fire station goes to the Fire Authority. Paul Arnott and I have written to all the authority members, while I’ve raised the Authority’s plans at the County Council

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IMG_1220The fight to save Colyton’s fire station has accelerated. On Monday I joined a protest of over 100 people, making the headlines on TV news, while over 1200 people have signed an online petition in the last 6 days. As a delegation heads today to the Fire Authority’s meeting which will decide whether to proceed with the consultation, Paul Arnott, district councillor for Coly Valley, and I have written to all members of the Fire Authority urging them to refuse the closure proposals.

On Tuesday I also got the County Council’s Scrutiny Committee to invite the Fire Authority to our next meeting in September to justify any proposals they agree. Colyton campaigners will be able to present their views to the committee.

Letter to Fire Authority members:

Dear Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Authority Member
We are writing to all councillors on the Authority in relation to your meeting this Friday to discuss endorsing the closure of 8 fire stations and a proposed subsequent consultation over the “options” about how this would be enacted. Thank you for your time taken in considering our points below.
We wish to urge you to refuse to agree to these closure proposals at your meeting and to cancel the consultation. Our experience in similar matters is that the consultation phase of any such process is less about seeking enlightenment from the public and more about lending legitimacy to a done deal.
We advocate here in particular on behalf of the Colyton Fire Station, whose staff we know and admire:
• The 12 retained firefighters include 3 women, one as a senior manager, and another woman ready to fill the next vacancy. This is well in excess of the D&SF&RS average which stands at 5%
• The Colyton pump often takes part in call-outs to fire and traffic incidents in co-operation with other Axe Valley stations at Axminster and Seaton. It is a fact that the number of homes across the Axe Valley will increase hugely in the next few years. Axminster is subject to a “Masterplan” with a thousand new homes in mind. Seaton is outside the AONB and still has capacity for hundreds more houses. Colyton, under the 2018 EDDC Villages Development Plan, is one of a handful of settlements in the district required to take new housing. A number of major schemes are in the pipeline in Colyton, including the Homes England plan for 70 homes at the old Ceramtec factory, and the Town Mill development of 8 light industrial units. In short, the demand for a local fire service is about to boom across the Axe Valley. This is not the time to cut.
• The Colyton fire station has a unique skillset having to cover an ancient Tannery, many thatched houses and listed buildings, and remote village settlements along difficult and narrow lanes in places such as Shute, Whitford, Musbury, Umborne, Northleigh and, Southleigh. It is the only station in the area to possess the higher SHACS level 2 qualification to execute a Safety and Height Ability in Confined Spaces operation.
• We are very alarmed at the nature of some of the evidence being provided in support of the argument for closure. To take just one example, the station profile for Colyton states that a Colyton pump cannot reach Seaton within 10 minutes. Yet the station profile for Seaton states that its own pump can reach Colyton within 10 minutes. The disparity between these two assertions gives little confidence in the care being taken with the evidence base presented to councillors on the authority in making such a crucial decision. It is also obvious that insufficient analysis has been done to identify and respect the extraordinary specifically local skills and knowledge which will be lost if this process is executed.
We are certain that our views expressed here reflect those of the great majority of Colyton and Colyford people, and again urge you to refuse to endorse the proposed plan. 
With thanks again.
Yours sincerely
Paul Arnott (District Councillor, Coly Valley) Martin Shaw (County Councillor, Seaton & Colyton)

Local Tory councillor backs Johnson for PM – let’s not forget that Tiverton was the first place that he was booed after his deceitful, racist campaign in 2016

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Stuart Hughes and Boris Johnson

The Sidmouth Herald reports that Conservative Councillor Stuart Hughes, who was recently elected as Chair of East Devon District Council with ‘Independent’ support, has backed Boris Johnson to lead the Conservative Party and be the next PM. It seems the right moment to remind ourselves that Johnson visited Tiverton on 1 July 2016, eight days after the EU referendum, he was booed and branded a ‘liar’ by protestors. Watch the Daily Telegraph video to the end, where a man asks Johnson to apologise to a friend who had suffered racial abuse due to the Leave campaign, and another calls him ‘a massive child’. Those people in Tiverton three years ago still speak for many of us as the Tories prepare to impose Johnson on the country.

Beer Men’s Shed crowdfunder passes £2000 mark: £500 more needed before EDDC will double their funding

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Beer Men's ShedThe project says: ‘Thanks to kind donations from individuals, from Beer Bag Project and from Devon County Council, and with the help of our local councillors Martin Shaw and Geoff Pook, we’ve now raised over £2,000 towards buying our first shed and the equipment and workbenches to go inside it.  Our next target is to get beyond the £2,500 mark, because when we achieve that we’re hoping that East Devon District Council will commit to providing us funding too by doubling our money.  We have just over 4 weeks to go to raise a total of £10,000 so that Beer Men’s Shed can have it’s new shed built and operational this summer.’ YOU CAN DONATE HERE.