People in Ilfracombe are being urged to have their say today (Friday, August 30) at a public consultation on proposals to change the fire service cover in the town.

Ilfracombe has seen a number of 'high rise' terrace fires. Picture: Karl WardIlfracombe has seen a number of 'high rise' terrace fires. Picture: Karl Ward

The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service consultation is being held at Ilfracombe Library from 1pm to 5pm this afternoon.

The Safer Together programme of proposals has six options, one of which would see changes to the Ilfracombe fire station.

The decision will be made by the Fire Authority, whose councillors have also been given a seventh option of 'cherry picking' elements of the other six.

Ilfracombe is among 14 stations which could see changes to how its two appliances are crewed, with one engine crewed 24 hours a day with on call staff and a second at night.

All six proposals include the closure of eight fire stations, including Woolacombe, which it is feared would have a knock on effect on Ilfracombe.

Another option would see Barnstaple downgraded from being staffed by 'whole time' (full time) fire fighters 24/7 to having full-time cover in the day only, with on-call fire fighters covering at night.

The Fire Brigades Union has warned this would mean the hydraulic aerial ladder platform would not be available at night, with the next nearest one in Exeter.

This is a huge worry for Ilfracombe, which has seen a number of high rise fires in the past among its hotels and terraces.

The fire service says the proposals are to address a reduction in activity in some areas, an increase in others, and a shrinking budget.

It estimates it needs to save a further £8.4 million in the next three years.

Anyone unable to attend today's consultation is still urged to have their say before the consultation closes on September 22.

The consultation document can be viewed and comments left at www.dsfire.gov.uk.

Concerned residents have also been urged to send their comments to the fire authority councillors, whose details can be found at https://fireauthority.dsfire.gov.uk/.