AN UNUSED fire control centre will be the new home of the Solent coastguard.
The building at Kite’s Croft, in Titchfield, has sat empty since plans to use it as a fire service call centre were abandoned.
But yesterday the government announced its decision to put the centre to use as a state-of-the-art Maritime Operations Centre (MOC).
It will replace the Solent’s current coastguard base in Lee-on-the-Solent.
Fareham’s MP, Mark Hoban, said: ‘This is good news.
‘I have been lobbying ministers to ensure this building is put to good use after lying empty for so long.
‘Given Fareham has strong maritime links it is entirely fitting this building will be used to strengthen the resilience and co-ordination of the coastguard service.’
The announcement is part of the government’s plans to modernise the coastguard service and how sea rescues are co-ordinated.
It will operate 24 hours a day as part of a national network of coastguard centres.
It was also announced the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s base at HMS Daedalus will be used as a coastguard training site.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage asked shipping minister Mike Penning if there would be any job losses from the Lee-on-the-Solent base.
He said there were no plans for compulsory redundancies.
Afterwards, Ms Dinenage said: ‘While I welcome the news key coastguard facilities will be based on the Daedalus site, I wanted to secure a commitment my constituents would not lose out in the closure of the Lee-on-the-Solent centre. They have served the coastguard for many years and represent a strong existing skills base.
‘I will continue to lobby the minister to ensure their jobs are secure at the new site in Fareham.’
The 30,000sq ft centre was part of a national fire control scheme which was meant to cost £120m but ended up massively over budget.
The News reported earlier this year that despite the scheme being axed, the building’s long-term lease meant taxpayers were still paying £121,000 a month for its rent.