Suffolk: Fire command will move despite regional scheme being scrapped

SUFFOLK: Controversial plans to centralise the region’s fire command in Cambridgeshire have been scrapped - but Suffolk’s control will still move to Huntingdon, it was revealed today.

SUFFOLK: Controversial plans to centralise the region’s fire command in Cambridgeshire have been scrapped – but Suffolk’s control will still move to Huntingdon, it has been revealed.

Fire minister Bob Neill told parliament yesterday the scheme – which has already cost �230million and was due to add up to �423million – is to be abolished.

But the announcement came too late for Suffolk County Council, whose public protection scrutiny committee had just approved a Cabinet decision to move the command centre to Huntingdon, putting the 23 staff currently working at fire control at risk as just eight would be needed in the new centre.

This was supposed to be an interim measure until the regional centre was ready, but the move could now be permanent according to officials, in a bid to save �400,000.


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The regional control in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, is costing �168,000 each month in running costs alone, racking up more than �6million since it was completed in early 2008 - and that doesn’t include the �2million spent nationally on new IT systems for the centres.

Andy Vingoe, chairman of Suffolk’s Fire Brigades Union, said: “I should be overjoyed because we’ve been saying for the last six years that fire control won’t work, but unfortunately it’s come too late.”

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Meanwhile Colin Spence, portfolio holder for public protection, confirmed the scrutiny committee decision would stand, even in the light of the government announcement which came just a couple of hours later.

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