GOSPORT MP Caroline Dinenage has called on the government to build a new coastguard command centre in Lee-on-the-Solent.
It comes after transport secretary Philip Hammond yesterday announced that plans to close the current base in Marine Parade West will go ahead.
It will be replaced with a state-of-the-art operations centre, to be built in either the Portsmouth or Southampton area.
Mrs Dinenage has been lobbying the Department for Transport to build the new centre on the site of HMS Daedalus.
Responding to Mr Hammond’s statement in the House of Commons, Mrs Dinenage said: ‘I welcome the news there will remain a centre in the Solent area, which is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world.
‘However I would very strongly encourage the secretary of state to locate this centre in Lee-on-the-Solent where we already have the expertise and vast local knowledge of experienced coastguard staff.
‘The site is ideally located between Portsmouth and Southampton and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency already owns a big part of the Daedalus airfield, meaning it makes good financial sense too.’
The new Solent Maritime Operations Centre (MOC) would oversee eight sub-centres across the UK.
It will be open around the clock and create 96 jobs.
It comes as part of an announcement that the government has watered down its plans to reduce the number of coastguard centres in the country.
The government had originally proposed two MOCs but now the Solent centre will be the only one.
Mr Hammond said: ‘There will be a station in the Portsmouth or Southampton area.
‘The Daedalus site is certainly one being looked at by the agency as a location for the centre but no final decision has yet been made.
‘Our updated proposals will ensure the safety of seafarers and coastal communities.’