Communities' concern over fire service plans
COMMUNITIES hit the hardest by potential cuts to frontline fire services have reacted with dismay.
Pauline Kadoche, Stannator of Plympton, said: "This is a great concern – it's a sad day for Plympton.
"We've had a full time service for a number of years.
"It's such a vast area with such a wide mix of properties including domestic, industrial and retail.
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"To reduce the fire service to a retained one is a step in the wrong direction."
Her views were echoed by Plympton councillor Dr David Salter.
He said: "I would be very disappointed if this was imposed.
"I'm sure it would be contrary to the wishes of people in Plympton.
"We had a similar situation about seven years ago and I campaigned against that.
"We were successful in getting the decision reconsidered then."
Cllr Sam Leaves thinks there could be a better solution.
"I want the service to look at the whole of Devon and Somerset and identify where they've had fires and where they are likely to have fires in the future and organise the service on that basis," she said.
"They should not just make a snap decision and say 'we'll make that station retained because we need to make cuts.'
"I would like an assurance that Plympton will be fully covered."
Conservative MP for South West Devon, Gary Streeter, commended the fire service.
But he also warned that he would be closely monitoring any potential changes to the service as a result of the savings.
The MP said: "I'm confident that there will be no reduction to the service provided to my constituents.
"I think these cuts will go ahead but I'm assured it will not result in a reduction to the fire service's capacity to respond.
"The way they handled the recent flooding was magnificent.
"I think the senior fire officers have handled their budget very skilfully but I will be keeping a close eye on the situation."
Cllr Lynda Bowyer said cuts to the service had been inevitable.
"Obviously nobody likes cuts in services," she added.
"At the council we've suffered many cuts and it sometimes feels like it's never ending.
"Our firefighters are very professional people.
"It's a pity, but I am told there will be no reduction in public safety."
And Cllr Martin Leaves, who sits on Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, insisted potential changes would make for a better service.
He told The Herald: "We want to provide a better service with better equipment.
"Some stations hardly get a call out, so it's costing around £40,000 per call.
"We are investing in the service, such as in the new appliance at Greenbank which is smaller and more efficient but cheaper.
"Nothing has been cast in stone yet."