Joint Berkshire Oxfordshire fire HQ location chosen

The proposed location for a joint control centre for Berkshire and Oxfordshire's fire services has been revealed as Calcot near Reading.

The two county's fire teams want a combined operation to receive their 999 calls and to mobilise fire engines.

They say it will save £659,000 per year but the plans could mean 22 job losses.

The proposals will be considered by members of Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet and the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority on 17 July.

Iain Cox, Berkshire's Chief Fire Officer, denied the proposed Berkshire location of the purpose-built centre would have a detrimental effect on callers from Oxfordshire, saying operators would be "highly skilled", have access to the latest technology and would be from both counties.

The current services employ 52 staff in control rooms but only 30 roles are expected to be required in the new centre.

Fire control centres around England had been expecting to merge into nine regional centres as part of the National Fire Control Project but the plan was scrapped in 2010.

If approved, the new centre is expected to be in operation by spring 2014.

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