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Buildings sell-off plan full of 'assumptions', says fire service
PLANS of a mass sell-off of public sector buildings in Worcestershire have been criticised by fire chiefs - who say the savings appear to be based on "significant assumptions".
A new report by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has revealed a raft of concerns on the multi-million pound plan.
The council says it would raise £118 million in sales by 2024 and save £110 million in maintenance costs, but the report says: - The continued savings forecast "appear very optimistic"
- A business case detailing how it would work is "based on some significant assumptions"
- There is no explanation around how buildings will be better used by sharing them
- The fire authority, as the smallest body within the partnership, could be "marginalised" and lose influence over its assets
The fire service has also agreed in principle to be a part of it, ahead of the publication of a final business case later this year despite the worries.
The report is aimed at highlighting concerns around the project before it goes any further.
Chief fire officer Mark Yates said: "We do have concerns and are asking relevant questions about this as we go along to make sure our interests are protected.
"The principle behind it is sound but it needs more investigation."
The council says the fire authority could save £600,000 a year in building cots by going ahead.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader, said: "It's not about selling off the family silver, but getting away from this obsession with owning your own property and making sure we work in a collaborative way.
"I'm quite confident any governance issues can be resolved and the key to this will be that all the partners will retain sovereignty over their own buildings.
"We should be embracing reform and change."
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