Colyton Fire Station

This is the moment the Conservatives voted to stop Devon County Council even discussing fire station closures – you have been warned, they are preparing to vote them through at the Fire Authority

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IMG_3177.JPGYesterday I tried to propose a motion to Devon County Council to halt the fire station closures. The grainy photo (above) taken from the webcast shows the Conservatives voting as a block to stop it even being discussedThey wanted to refer my motion  to the Cabinet who would amend it and bring it back to the Council in December. By then, the Fire Authority – chaired by Colyton’s former county councillor, Sarah Randall-Johnson – will have decided on its proposals at a meeting on 8th November.

Following this disgraceful episode, there can be little doubt that Tory councillors on the fire authority are preparing to vote through the fire station closures. Local people need to increase pressure on all the individual members of the Authority, change their minds.

Below, me urging the Council to discuss the motion.


Seaton Town Council joins the fight for Colyton Fire Station

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The Town Council has told the Fire Service: ‘Seaton Town Council wishes to express its alarm about the way in which the ‘Safer Together’ proposals will affect the town. As your own documents show, the 8,500 people in Seaton will be among over 600,000 who will experience greater risk to their lives as a result of the proposals. The closure of Colyton Fire Station will remove the second engine for property fires in Seaton, which will mean that NO second engine will be available reach Seaton within the 13 minute required response time. Even more seriously, in the minority of cases where the Seaton engine cannot be launched in time, the closure of Colyton will mean that no engine will be able to reach Seaton in much under 20 minutes. This represents a completely unacceptable increase in risk to the residents of Seaton, and the Town Council urges the Fire Authority to withdraw all proposals which involve the closure of Colyton Fire Station.’

Fire Services aren’t supposed to cause ‘fire sales’, but ours aims to cash in the property value of Colyton and other stations in return for a vague promise of ‘more prevention’ – read my 21-point response to the consultation

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YOU NOW HAVE ONLY UNTIL SUNDAY (22nd) to submit your response – send to or go online at (but be warned that all 7 options include closing the 8 stations including Colyton).

People lining the streets clap and cheer as fire engine leads Colyton Carnival procession in ‘Save Our Station’ protest

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IMG_3148IMG_3145.JPGIn my second demonstration of the day, I carried a placard (alongside district councillor Paul Arnott) behind the fire engine last night at Colyton Carnival. A huge turnout from the town and surrounding area and great support for the campaign to save Colyton Fire Station.

Fire Service chiefs fail to answer questions at Devon County Council private briefing – but they are worried about the level of opposition

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Yesterday I attended the private ‘masterclass’ for county councillors with Chief officers Ian Howell and Pete Bond – arranged instead of the public Scrutiny hearing which the Fire Service had refused to attend.

  • I protested about the over-complicated design of the consultation and the way it has closed off opportunities for the public to express views about particular stations – they said it was signed off by the Consultation Institute (I shall be writing to them) but like some members of the Fire Authority, I don’t think it is credible.
  • I challenged the misleading assumptions on which the calculations about ‘savings’ of life are based – they failed to respond.
  • I asked them if they accepted the estimate, based on their own data, that 600,000 people would have increased risk due to slower response times – this would include everyone in the Seaton and Colyton area – again they failed to answer.
  • I asked why they said it wasn’t about ‘cuts’, when papers presented to the Fire Authority showed clearly that saving money is a key driver.

Although I got to raise some other points about Colyton, I was cut off by the chair and didn’t get a chance to come back in. I’ll be writing up a full objection (and a paper for when this comes to Scrutiny – as I have insisted – on 25th September) and will post this here.

Three things struck me even more forcefully, from this meeting and re-reading the papers in preparation for it:

  1. As with the hospital cuts, the bottom line here is asset-stripping. The sites represent over 80 per cent of the financial gains from the 8 proposed closures.
  2. Even more than with the hospital beds cuts, the ‘alternative’ ( in this case more ‘prevention’) is pathetically weakly developed. They’re selling off the family silver and not giving us any serious detail on what they’re offering instead. In all likelihood, they’ll pocket the gains and the prevention activity will barely materialise.
  3. Finally, they are worried about the high level of negative TV and press coverage – keep up the campaign!


‘Save Our Fire Station’ protest in Colyton Carnival, this Saturday, 7th, 7.40 pm

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INVITATION to adults and children to march behind Colyton’s fire engine in the Colyton Carnival procession on Saturday, 7th September bearing placards protesting the proposed changes to our Fire Service and promoting the completion of the consultation questionnaire. Dress boldly in red, orange, yellow or black ~ any combination ~ or come as you are. Costumes are fun but optional. We’ll be singing “We are burning” to the tune of “London’s burning” through the streets of Colyton and, if there are enough of us, we could sing it as a round 😁 Let’s be heard! There are a few placards available to carry but if you could make your own that would be excellent.
Meet up at 7:40pm in Govers Meadow at the Dolphin Street/Kingfisher end. We’ll be walking at a safe distance from the fire engine, which will be leading the procession, as the fire crew will be on call 👨‍🚒🔥🚒🧯
Online consultation questionnaire:

Fire Authority refuses to face public scrutiny of its station closures by County Council committee: I’ve asked the Chair to invite firefighters from the threatened Devon stations to give evidence instead

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Fire Service consultation
PRESS RELEASE (20 August 2019)
The Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is currently consulting on proposals to close 8 rural fire stations. The County Council’s Corporate Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Scrutiny Committee decided on 25th June to place the station closures on the agenda for its meeting on 26th September, and to invite the Fire Service to attend and present their case.
I learnt today that the Service has refused the invitation to attend the Scrutiny Committee, which is held in public, webcast and offers an opportunity for public participation. Instead they are offering a ‘masterclass’ on the proposals for county councillors, in private, which is scheduled for 4th September.
As a member of the Committee and County Councillor for Seaton and Colyton, representing the town of Colyton where one of the threatened stations is located – together with  surrounding densely rural parishes which rely on the prompt response of its firefighters – I am outraged by the refusal of the Fire Authority to face public scrutiny of its proposals and answer the objections of local communities and their elected representatives.
I have therefore asked Cllr Alistair Dewhirst, Chair of the Committee, to invite other interested parties (representatives of the threatened Devon fire stations and the Fire Brigades Union – Devon and Somerset) to present to the Committee instead, and for County officers to prepare a report to the committee on the proposals.
The Scrutiny Committee’s discussion of the proposals is the only opportunity which elected representatives will have to scrutinise them before the Fire Authority’s final decision which will be made on Bonfire Night, 5th November. (The Authority’s own meetings offer members of the public, including councillors, only the possibility to ask questions or present petitions, not to give their views directly.)
Martin Shaw, County Councillor for Seaton and Colyton

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!