England

New HQ for Durham and Darlington Fire Service

Regional fire control centre in Durham
Image caption The complex in Durham has lain empty since it was completed in March 2008

Fire chiefs in County Durham have been given the go-ahead to take over a multimillion-pound control centre which has lain empty for four years.

The complex at Belmont was one of nine proposed regional centres in England built at a cost of almost £470m, before the scheme was scrapped in 2010.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Authority has announced plans to relocate its HQ into the building.

The site will also house its new 999 call handling and mobilising system.

The move follows negotiations with the government.

It is expected the lease will be formally transferred to the authority in the next few weeks.

John Hewitt, the authority's director of corporate resources, said: "Reaching agreement to takeover the building at Belmont in Durham is excellent news for the fire authority and for local communities.

"This building is central to our plans to modernise other parts of our estate as we look to continue to improve the services and facilities that are available in County Durham and Darlington."

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