Essex Fire Service HQ set for move

THE headquarters of Essex Fire and Rescue Service could be moved wholesale to Kelvedon as part of a radical overhaul of its operations.It is currently based in Brentwood, but Chief Fire Officer David Johnson yesterday told the EADT a move of the service's 300 HQ personnel to an office block off the A12 at Kelvedon was possible.

THE headquarters of Essex Fire and Rescue Service could be moved wholesale to Kelvedon as part of a radical overhaul of its operations.

It is currently based in Brentwood, but Chief Fire Officer David Johnson yesterday told the EADT a move of the service's 300 HQ personnel to an office block off the A12 at Kelvedon was possible.

He said the potential move was currently the subject of a feasibility study and that it would not cost the fire service anything in terms of capital costs because the current HQ buildings are worth more money than the potential new site.

Mr Johnson, who took over the reigns of the Essex service last year, said a new learning centre aimed at improving children's numeracy and literacy - as well as their fire knowledge - was also on the cards if the Kelvedon HQ proposals went ahead.

The idea behind the fire service getting involved in educating children, he said, was that those with poor education tended to be more likely to be involved in fire incidents than other people.

A letter has been sent from the fire service to Essex County Council, the local children's authority.

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He said: “We have identified a site in Kelvedon that would be able to accommodate what we wish to do with our service. It has planning permission to double in size and it would meet most of our needs.

“There are lots of things we want to do including a life skills centre for children and young people.”

Mr Johnson ruled out the possibility of closing local fire stations, saying that, if anything, the service would be seeking to increase investment in its local stations because of increasing population levels within the county.

He said he also wanted to cut the response times of the fire service from 20 minutes to 15 minutes.

Most fire attendances are achieved well below the 20-minute threshold, but Mr Johnson said he wanted to improve the performance still further.

The proposals form part of the fire authority's integrated risk management plan which also includes teaming up with Essex Police to try and educate speeding motorists about the aftermath of breaking the speed limits.

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