Scrapped Wolverhampton fire control centre to be used at last

A £10 million fire control centre that was abandoned before it ever handled an emergency call is to become a technology centre under new plans revealed today.

The fire control centre at Wolverhampton Business Park has never handled a single call
The fire control centre at Wolverhampton Business Park has never handled a single call

The Express & Star can exclusively reveal that IT and telecoms company Oosha is in negotiations to move into the building in Wolverhampton Business Park which would allow it to create 50 jobs over the next few years.

Other companies are being invited to locate there as well, creating a technology centre.

The building is currently costing taxpayers £1.8 million a year in rent and security. The overall cost will rise to £48m by the end of a 25-year lease. The bill is being footed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The two-storey fire control building was meant to be one of nine regional centres to replace a network of 46 fire control rooms.

But the scheme was scrapped in 2010 after years of delays and spiralling costs.

The national project has cost taxpayers £482m and was set up by former Labour deputy prime minister John Prescott.

Oosha would rent the property in a move that will help to cover some of the costs to the taxpayer.

It has 26 staff currently based in the Chubb Buildings in Wolverhampton city centre.

Matthew Newton, operations director for Oosha, said: “We have been looking for new premises and the fire control centre is our primary focus at this point in time.

“We’d like to take it on with additional parties and for it to be a technology centre. But it’s not a done deal.”

Taxpayers are still funding £5,000 a day in rent, security, electricity and utility bills for the 30,000 sq ft building.

News of the negotiations has delighted South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson.

He said: “The regional fire control project has wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and I will be delighted to see someone give it a purpose.”

Comments for: "Scrapped Wolverhampton fire control centre to be used at last"

Rob

Let's hope the new occupants replace the Fire Control Centre sign with one bearing the legend "Prescott's Folly"!

Chris

An horrendous waste of taxpayers money,so glad to see it is going to be used,but iam sure it will still operate at a loss.

jeffb

Prescott was told by the fire authorities it would not work, fire-fighters told him and Fire Unions told him it would not work. But in his usual way he bulldozed it through now we are still paying.

Bill

Where's the chairman of the fire Authority ? he should be ranting with rage , but I doubt it it was his Labour friends

who created this complete mess. Just one years rent on this dogs dinner (£1.8M) would have given the all men a pay rise instead he has the audacity sack men and close stations. RESIGN Mr Edwards

KAPAKE

I presume they can afford £35000 a week rent and utilities?