Agenda item

Consultation response to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

That the Committee formulate a consultation response to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Letter and consultation papers (attached).


The Committee considered its response to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service consultation document in relation to the proposed changes to the service delivery within Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.


The Chairman addressed the Committee regarding the consultation and explained the outcome of the Member Briefing, which was held on Wednesday 11th September 2019.


The Head of Resources advised that following the Member’s Briefing, the Committee and the Council had the opportunity to respond to the consultation either via online or letter. He explained that the Chief Fire Officer had outlined the context of the proposals and referred to some documents, which were available on the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service website and tabled for members of the Committee. He added that it was for the Committee to decide whether to respond individually or collectively.


The Committee discussed the following:


·         Concerns had been raised by Braunton Parish Council in relation to unrealistic response times to Woolacombe from Braunton should an emergency situation arise.

·         Were encouraged by the vast amount of work which had been undertaken in relation to prevention, which reduced the number of incidents and fires.

·         There were concerns raised in relation to the risk to lives through a money saving exercise. However, reassurance was given following a direct question to the Chief Fire Officer that the proposals did not form part of a money saving exercise.

·         There was a requirement to look at the business as a whole whilst being mindful that you could not put a price on lives.

·         The proposed removal of a full time crew in Barnstaple was not in the interests of public safety.

·         Barnstaple was a central hub that provided support to the whole of the North Devon area. Evidence had been based on distances travelled “as the crow flied”, which was not a realistic comparison given the nature of the road network within the North Devon area. The Chief Fire Officer himself travelled along the route between Woolacombe and Braunton and agreed that suggested response time to that area was not realistic.

·         The option of building a new fully manned fire station at Mullacott Cross to cover the areas of Ilfracombe and Woolacombe etc.

·         The organisation was currently too top heavy and there were significant risks with access to areas such as Woolacombe and Ilfracombe.

·         How to address the public perception of the Fire Service and the service that they provided, i.e. provision of support to flooding situations was not currently part of their remit.

·         Whether to respond to the consultation collectively or as individual Members of the Council.

·         The time constraints upon the Council in terms of responding to the consultation in relation to the deadline, which was prior to the next meeting of Full Council.

·         The importance of education in terms of fire prevention.





that the Chairman of the Policy Development Committee responds to the email address on behalf of the Members to advise that the Committee was strongly against Barnstaple losing 24 hour manned cover particularly at night and would like to request that Northern Devon does not lose its full time manned cover;



that Members of the Committee respond individually to the consultation process at their own discretion;



that Fire Prevention Officers from the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service be invited to attend either the meeting of Full Council or a Member’s Briefing in November 2019 to explain the prevention work that they undertake within the community; and



that copies of online questionnaire to be circulated to the members of the Committee.



Following its consideration of the appropriate mechanism for responding, the Committee expressed concern in relation to the complexity of the consultation document together with the potential difficulties that any member of the public might experience in its completion.




Supporting documents: