Government in talks to sublet empty Taunton fire control centre

Credit: ITV West Country

The Government says it is talking to a private company with a view to subletting an empty fire control centre in Taunton.

The centre, built as part of a money-saving operation in 2004, has been empty since it was built.

The project was scrapped in 2010 and there have been attempts since to find an occupier.

Costs for rent, bills and management soared to more than £16 million by the end of 2016.

The project was intended to save money by providing a central call centre for the whole West Country.

Similar centres across the UK were hoped to reduce the number of fire control rooms across the country from 46 to just nine.

Some of the other nine buildings have been occupied since the scheme was scrapped.

Durham, Warrington and London which are now being used by local fire services. The building in Fareham is being used by the Maritime and Coastal Agency and a private company occupies the centre in Wolverhampton.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has now told ITV West Country it is in talks about the centre.

The company marketing the site has listed it as ‘under offer’ for some time with no further details emerging until now.

Credit: ITV West Country

Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane, says the Government and council have worked hard to find interested parties for the site.

Estimated costs for rent, bills and management rose to more than £16 million by the end of 2016.

Devon & Somerset Fire Brigades Union says it is giving the news "a cautious welcome".

The government is tied into a contract for the site until 2028, meaning subletting is the most obvious option to cover the cost of the building going forward.