Opponents brand proposal for new fire control centre near Taunton “bonkers”, “stupid”

Government plans to build an emergency firefighting call centre at Blackbrook Office Park near Taunton have come up against harsh criticism, because the location is on a designated flood plain.

The Western Daily Press reported local Tory MP Mark Harper as saying “It strikes me that deciding to put a fire control centre on a flood plain doesn't make sense at all.”

Harper proposed that instead, the fire control centres in the region (Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall) should be kept open, along with the TriService Emergency Centre at Waterwells Business Park. He also pointed out the exemplary job the latter did during the flood crisis in July.

A statement on the Government’s fire control website says that the area has been assessed as being at risk once in every 100 years, and declares that “Even if flooding occurs, measures have been included in the design to ensure the building is not affected.”

But Harper was not impressed. “The idea that we want to put something on a flood plain and then build stuff around it to stop it flooding is just stupid,” he said.