Campaigner off to Number 10 in fight against fire cuts
ANTI-fire cuts campaigner Susie Colley is to travel to 10 Downing Street to lobby against proposals to reduce Torquay fire station's capacity.
Ms Colley is determined to have fire bosses in Devon and Somerset rescind a decision to replace Torquay's second full-time crew with a part-time or retained one with the number of full-time firefighters in the town being reduced from 52 to 28.
The fire service has said it has been forced to look at budget cuts of £5.5million over two years because of a decrease in government funding.
But critics have said the move would lead to slower response times to emergency incidents and will put lives in danger.
Tuesday 9th & Wednesday 10th. Carol (with over 16yrs experience) has 10% off - facials. Pedicures. Manicures. Body wraps. Spray tans. Waxing. Tinting. Perming
Terms: For 2 days only. With therapist Carol. Please quote "2 day special offer".
Contact: 01271 440617
Valid until: Thursday, December 12 2013
More than 22,000 people signed a petition against the move, including a Stop the Fire Cuts petition which was presented to the fire authority.
Ms Colley said she wanted the petition returned to her so she could hand it in to the Prime Minister in London. But instead she has been told she can present a letter explaining the situation to Dave Cameron.
Ms Colley will be joined by Torbay MP Adrian Sanders and Bay councillors Vic Ellery and Stephen Brooksbank, who both represent the local authority on the fire service board and firefighters from Torquay, when she visits Westminster on September 11.
She said: "Adrian Sanders is trying to organise a face to face sit down meeting with the PM. I'm not sure it would be on the same day but it's fantastic news.
"It means localism and democracy are working and that we have the ear of the man in charge of the country.
"Cornwall have rejected their fire cuts. I hope by applying some pressure Devon and Somerset Fire Service will do the same.
"It is a shame that it has to take that amount of work and pressure to show that the Devon and Somerset Fire service is wrong."
It has now been revealed that the fire authority has asked firefighters in Torquay and Plymouth, two of the areas most likely to be affected by Proposition 10, which would see the number of full time firefighters and engines reduced, for their own proposals.
In a document obtained by the Herald Express, firefighters have come up with their own £5.1million savings proposal without cutting front line services.
The proposed alternative from Torquay would see a saving of £2.2million through a back office restructure, £1.6million through the end of external consultants, making better use of the fleet of fire engines and reduce the number of senior managers.
Another option would be to tap into the service's £9million reserves to avoid any compulsory redundancies.