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Just five remain at £9.7m fire control centre

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Just five people are still working at a £9.7 million regional fire control centre in Wolverhampton and are due to be made redundant within weeks.

The lights are on but soon there will be no-one home.

Just five people are still working at a £9.7 million regional fire control centre in Wolverhampton and are due to be made redundant within weeks.

Today it can also be revealed that taxpayers forked out £5,000 last year for catering for meetings at the centre, which will not be brought into full use.

Figures revealed it cost £428 a month for catering while meetings of fire service staff, government officials, contractors and councillors were held to try to get major problems with computer equipment resolved.

The £423m scheme to create nine regional control centres across the whole country was scrapped by the coalition government in December after running £100m over budget.

The centre on Stafford Road, near junction 2 of the M54 motorway, was plagued by technical problems after building work began in 2006 and was completed in 2008.

The government will continue to have to fork out for round the clock security at the site while it works out what to do with the building at Wolverhampton Business Park.

It is still costing £1.7m a year in rent, security, electricity and utility bills.

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The site has at least two security staff present at all times despite not being in use.

Five members of staff who have been seconded to the site from the five services that make up the region - West Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Hereford and Worcester, will be made redundant.

The centre has been run by a local authority controlled company set up by the five services which is now disbanding.

The chairman of its board of directors, Warwickshire councillor Richard Hobbs, said: "The fire and rescue services within the West Midlands region met through their regional company board and decided that they no longer required the use of the building, and that unfortunately the services of the small staff team, who have worked hard to develop the regional control centre as an organisation, were no longer required either."

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