News : New Fire Service Call Centre to Open — 10 Years Later
Feb 14, 20144 -- A new 999 fire call centre is to finally open - 10 years after being announced.
The super centre near the M62 at Warrington was initially meant to be one of nine to replace 46 existing centres in England.
But the entire project was scrapped in December 2010 after costs soared.
Now four fire services, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Cumbria, and Lancashire, have taken over the north west centre and resurrected the project themselves.
The government has given them the building, which has stood virtually empty since 2009, and a grant. The north west centre is at Lingley Mere Business Park.
The original government project was hit by serious delays in installing a computer system and a catalogue of errors by the main contractor. It was first unveiled in 2004 and was meant to be in up and running in 2010.
The move will save Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service money. The brigade will pay North West Fire Control - a company set up to run the centre for the service. The brigade’s existing control room at its Pendlebury HQ will close. Twenty seven staff will move to Warrington and 19 will take redundancy.
Cheshire and Cumbria have already merged their call system and will move into the centre at the end of March followed by Lancashire and Greater Manchester in April.
Union bosses had expressed concern about whether the level of service the public would receive would be to the same standard and whether operators from different counties would have the same geographical knowledge of neighbouring areas.
But bosses at Greater Manchester insist that sophisticated technology will mean standards remain high despite the merger.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About North West Fire Control:
North West Fire Control is a public sector company set up exclusively by the Fire Services in the North West to jointly handle all 999 emergency calls and be responsible for mobilising firefighters and fire engines to incidents in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire.
Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014