A MULTIMILLION-POUND development to create a new control room at Essex Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters is running behind schedule.

Work started in December 2012 on the latest £6.4million phase of the project at fire headquarters, at Kelvedon Park, on the A12 near Witham.

The building, which will offer a new emergency control centre, training rooms and extra admin and staff facilities, was due to be finished on January 31.

However, the fire service now says it will not take over the building from contractor Farrans until March.

It will then still have to be fitted out before it is ready to use.

Chief Fire Officer David Johnson said: “At this time the contractor is about £2.4million behind its original cash flow forecast, which makes the current forecast completion date unlikely.”

Another fire service spokesman said: “It is on schedule for March, but there is no firm date for the control centre being ready to use.

“We will be looking towards the end of the year, once we have installed a new system.”

The extension is the key to Essex Fire Authority’s plan to centralise its operations at Kelvedon Park.

The service’s control centre is currently still at its previous headquarters, in Hutton, near Brentwood, where it was based from 2000.

The move will bring control room staff down to Kelvedon Park, in Rivenhall End, along with its incident command training centre, which is based in leased buildings in Basildon.