CONTROVERSIAL plans to move the control room of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) from Carmarthen to Bridgend have been given the go-ahead.

At a meeting on Wednesday (April 16), it was decided that MAWWFRS and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) will merge, and be re-located to the South Wales Police headquarters in Bridgend.

The plan to establish a joint public service centre (JPSC) housing three emergency services is expected to save taxpayers in the region of £1million a year once it opens in April 2016.

Chief Constable of South Wales Police Peter Vaughan said: “This project will enable us to share valuable information and manage incidents on a multi-agency level, which will significantly improve the way emergency services deliver a response to people who need our collective help.”

But Fire Brigade Union (FBU) members have raised concerns that the move will have a negative impact on the service it can provide.

Grant Mayos, FBU executive council member for Wales, said: “Our highly-skilled control room members have proven time and time again that local knowledge saves precious time in responding to incidents.

”We are therefore deeply concerned about how the loss of a dedicated fire control room in Mid and West Wales will affect the service provided to local communities — and the future of our members.

“The FBU in Wales has opposed this move from the outset and we have informed management of our serious concerns.”

Following the decision to proceed with this project, a spokesman for MAWWFR said ‘work will now begin on reviewing staffing models in the two fire controls from the current shift pattern to a demand-led resourcing model’.

Asked whether this would mean cuts to jobs, the spokesman said they were unable to comment at this time.