ILFRACOMBE is to see its fire cover reduced to retained only after todays regional budget vote went against the town. Members of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority voted this after (Wednesday) to approve a raft of changes across the two counties in a bid to plug a £5.5million shortfall. The service announced the proposals at the beginning of this year, saying it had to make the savings over the next two years after seeing its government grant cut. For Ilfracombe, this means the full time crew on duty at the station during the day would be removed and although it would still maintain two fire engines these would be manned by on call retained fire fighters only. The proposals in January prompted a wave of outrage and local campaigning through a lengthy consultation period, amid fears lives would be lost due to an increased response time. The whole time crew currently on duty from 9am-6pm on week days will be reallocated to other parts of the service, it has said. The fire service says the 11 proposals on the table today, all of which were approved, are aimed at providing an affordable and effective service, without removing fire stations, fire engines or making compulsory redundancies. Other measures include reducing support staff numbers by around 40 posts this year, through a combination of deleting vacancies, ending some fixed term contracts and voluntary redundancy. In addition, senior posts have also been reduced. Ilfracombe will see one of its two medium rescue pump appliances replaced with one of the new light rescue pumps, being rolled out as part of the cost cutting package. Keep checking back to hear reaction to the proposals.