Fire and rescue call centre to be moved due to cuts

EASTBOURNE’S fire and rescue call centre will definitely be moving to Haywards Heath Fire Station as a cost-cutting measure, it was announced last week.

The centre which takes East Sussex Fire and Rescue’s emergency calls, which is currently based in the large offices in Upperton Road, will be moving out and merging with the West Sussex call centre to create a new centre.

The staff from the Eastbourne office will be expected to move to the new Haywards Heath location. However, the Upperton Road office will still be open for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service staff in other departments.

The announcement, which was made by the fire service on Thursday (June 7), follows the decision taken last December by both services to merge their existing control rooms into a single Sussex Control Centre would begin taking 999 calls in September 2013.

The move followed a successful bid by both services for £3.6 million funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Representatives from both East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service decided upon Haywards Heath Fire Station as the most suitable location for the new centre last month and now East Sussex Fire Authority and West Sussex County Council have ratified the decision.

The council and fire authority also agreed that East Sussex Fire Authority will become the lead employer for the Sussex Control Centre, taking effect from April 1, 2013. A joint officer-led board will be created to manage the Sussex Control Centre, reporting directly to both the East Sussex Fire and Rescue’s corporate management team and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s principal leadership team.

John Livings, the East Sussex Fire Authority chairman, said, “The move towards a single control room for Sussex has arisen due to our shared desire to deliver the best possible fire and rescue services to the communities of Sussex, and the need to reduce costs in public spending.

“The new Sussex Control Centre provides an opportunity to deliver improvements in attendance times, the provision of information to the incident and improve the co-ordination of operational resources across the two services.

“This has been an uncertain time for the control staff and we appreciate their continued professionalism.

“We believe today’s decisions mark a key milestone at which both Services can now work together, with a confirmed location and lead employer, to make the Sussex Control Centre a successful reality next year.”