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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Fire service HQ put up for sale
Lanelay Hall
Lanelay Hall is too costly for the brigade to keep
The headquarters of one of Wales' busiest fire services is to be put up for sale after service chiefs said its running costs were too high.

South Wales Fire Service are planning to move from the 16th Century Lanelay Hall in Pontyclun in Rhondda Cynon Taf to nearby Ynysmaerdy within 18 months.

The brigade is in the final stages of negotiations to buy the site from a retailer.

A spokeswoman for the brigade said the total move would be "cost neutral".

"I haven't got any figures at the moment, but it is anticipated that once we have sold Lanelay Hall and other sites, then it will be a cost neutral move - it's not going to be a burden on the tax payer," she said.

The hall was the headquarters of the former Mid Glamorgan fire brigade since the early 1950s.

When it merged with South Glamorgan and Gwent brigades in 1996, the building became the main base for the new South Wales service.

LANELAY HALL
Built in 16th Century and home of the Matthew and Bassett families
Occupied by the 'Ladies of Lanelay? and rebuilt in 19th Century in elaborate gothic style
The hall passed through different owners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
Bought by the County of Glamorgan as its fire service headquarters in 1951

It is currently run from more than five different premises across its area but chiefs say high running and maintenance costs are not providing the public vale for money.

"It is our duty as a public body, to provide a cost effective, value for money service to the public of south Wales," said the spokeswoman.

"We cannot provide that service from our present headquarters and our other sites, where the running and maintenance costs are high."

The 11.5 acre site in Pontyclun is expected to attract developers who will use it for housing.

"The move will make us function much better," said the spokeswoman.

The new HQ, currently the home of retailer Buy As You View, is expected to be ready by next July.

"A new site will allow us to realise our long term ambition to bring together under one roof the functions of the service which are scattered over more than five different sites throughout south Wales," she said.

Currently conditions at Lanelay Hall are said to be "cramped and overcrowded" for workers since an organisational restructure last summer.

"Obviously it will be a wrench for some people who have been working here for 25-years but the new site is only a few minutes up the road," added the spokeswoman.




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