Lancashire's ‘doomed’ fire HQ given year reprieve

AGAINST PLANS: Kevin Brown

AGAINST PLANS: Kevin Brown

First published in News Preston and Leyland Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy news editor

PLANS to axe Lancashire’s emergency fire control room and replace it with a regional call-handling centre have been delayed.

The £380million proposals, which have been condemned by firefighters, will see Lancashire’s Broughton control centre make way for a North West operation at Warrington.

The Government has now admitted that the Whitehall-backed plans are now at least nine months behind schedule, and could slip further behind, because of IT problems.

There are fears that the delays could also increase the cost of the project.

Critic Julia Goldsworthy, Lib Dem communities spokesman, said: “This supposed cost-cutting measure is behind schedule and the budget is rising fast.

“Now that the Government has conceded the Fire Control Centres will not open on time, shouldn’t they also admit that the project was doomed from the start?

“Closing local control centres will not improve fire safety and it now looks like it’s not going to save money either.”

Under the scheme, every local control room across the country would be shut and replaced by one of eight regional call centres.

The firefighters’ union has said the plan would damage the brigade’s chances of reaching 999 calls promptly due to a lack of local knowledge among operators.

Communities and local government minister Sadiq Khan blamed the delays on “difficulties with the ICT”.

The full system will now be in place by spring 2012, with the first three regional centres in the North East, East Midlands and South West going live in summer 2010 – nine months later than expected.

Mr Khan indicated the date for the full system going live could slip further, saying that final deadlines are dependent on the completion of the earlier stages of the scheme.

FBU regional secretary Kevin Brown said: “We are telling the Government not just to change course, but to change its whole approach.”

Comments

Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree