Clarke says thanks but no thanks to 32,000 square feet, �23 million fire service ‘white elephant’

LEADER Nick Clarke said thanks but no thanks after the fire service asked if Cambridgeshire County Council would take on the redundant �23 million, 32,000 square feet control centre at Waterbeach.

Accompanied by chief executive Mark Lloyd he toured the empty building and left, he says, spell bound by the waste of public money and the extravagance of fitting it out.

“If you need an example of Labour waste this is it,” he said. “Inside there were rooms, a restaurant and a magnificent control room that was huge.

“If the control room was ever thought not to be big enough (if that could ever be possible) then it had been designed to fit a whole new floor in the ceiling space.

“This room was enormous. Air conditioning with individual settings for desk areas ensured comfort.”

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Cllr Clarke said: “So, why is the building not used? Well, it seems that John Prescott bought these centres (there are eight others around the country) under a PFI agreement which means that who ever takes on the building will have to pay �1.3 million a year with utilities on top.

“As our fire service currently spends around �300,000 a year the sums don’t add up. “And anyway it is just far too big and over specified. Even if it were to have housed the whole region’s control facilities it is unlikely that it would have been filled.”

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He said one of the reasons he went to look at the building, with officers, was to see if they could use any of the space to help defray the costs “as it is public money tied up in the white elephant.

“Sadly, the costs are just too great at this stage although never say never. But what a shameful waste of public money!

“Unfortunately Labour and the Lib Dems think spending our public money freely and on pet projects is normal. Beware the socialist ideals.”

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