Fire chiefs believe that moving its 999 control room to the county headquarters will allow the service to respond better to large-scale emergencies.

Moving the control room is the next phase of large-scale expansion plans at Kelvedon Park, near Witham.

The project will also see training facilities built at the headquarters, situated next to the A12, to replace ageing sites elsewhere in Essex.

Essex Fire Authority has lodged a planning application and, pending its approval, expects to complete the extension by October 2013.

The 999 control room for Essex Fire and Rescue will relocate to Kelvedon Park from its current site in Hutton, Brentwood.

Property services manager Jon Doherty said: “As an authority we have had an ambition to centralise our services and cost cut.

“We wanted a site that could replace Hutton when we originally moved the headquarters here in 2008.

“It will be a two-winged extension to the rear of the property.

“It is quite a significant investment for the authority, but it will be a real improvement from what we have at Hutton.

“Having our admin and control staff at the same site should also help co-ordinate our service.”