Joint Berkshire Oxfordshire fire HQ given go-ahead

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Plans for a new joint control centre for Berkshire and Oxfordshire's fire services have been approved.

The combined operation, based at Calcot near Reading, will receive their 999 calls and mobilise fire engines.

The move to a new purpose-built control centre is expected to save £659,000 per year.

The proposals were approved by Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet and the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority.

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

Both fire services said they were "committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies" through redeployment of staff.

Oxford's existing control room at Kidlington will be maintained as a non-staffed back-up for the new Calcot centre.

The new centre is expected to be in operation by spring 2014.

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.

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