New Headquarters Move Announced

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is to relocate its Hutton headquarters to Kelvedon Park.

Essex Fire Authority exchanged contracts for the purchase of the new headquarters building last week, with a completion date in early October. The property is being purchased from Flying Flowers Properties, a division of the quoted retail company Flying Brands.

The costs associated with the relocation will be recouped from the sale of the current headquarters site and the termination of leases for training facilities currently situated in various parts of the county.

Consultation with the 350-staff currently working at the Service's headquarters building in Rayleigh Close has already begun in preparation for relocation to the new facility. It is hoped that the vast majority of staff will make the move to the new HQ.

Plans are for a quarter of staff to be in the new building by early 2008, with the remainder to follow as part of a phased move designed to ensure headquarters' capabilities remain uninterupted.

The current headquarters, which also accommodates Essex Fire Control, will remain in operation until the transfer of the fire control to a regional 999 centre in 2011.

Kelvedon Park will provide ECFRS with an opportunity to develop a training and management centre that will support its ambition of becoming an excellent-rated fire and rescue service.

Making the announcement today, EFA Chairman Simon Walsh, said: "We have been searching for some time for a building that will enable the continued development of the Service. Kelvedon Park provides us with the opportunity to develop a modern and efficient working environment for our support staff, as well as giving us the space we need to develop our training capabilities and expand our already successful community work.

"We have outgrown the headquarters building at Hutton and we have a number of activities operating at disparate sites throughout the county. The new headquarters building will make us more effective and more efficient in achieving our strategic aim - doing more than we have ever done to keep Essex safer."