Plans to create a £10 million regional fire and rescue control centre for the West Midlands have been scrapped – three years after a purpose-built new building was completed.
Ministers announced they were abandoning the troubled scheme, which has been hit by a series of delays and mistakes.
It emerged earlier this year that vital equipment used to give firefighters details of emergency calls could not be installed because it had a tendency to overheat and become a fire risk.
Fire Minister Bob Neill announced the Government was abandoning plans to create nine regional control centres to cover England, replacing 46 standalone fire and rescue control rooms across the country.
A control centre to serve the West Midlands region was built in Wolverhampton three years ago at a cost of £9.7 million.
It was supposed to take 999 calls from Staffordshire, West Midlands, Shropshire, Hereford and Worcester and Warwickshire fire brigades.
But taxpayers have been paying out £100,000 a month in rent for the building, which remains empty due to delays installing computer equipment.
It also emerged West Midlands Fire Service had serious concerns about the project when it submitted evidence to a Commons inquiry earlier this year.
Mr Neill said that he delivered an ultimatum in June to contractors Caddidian, who were responsible for providing technology, requiring the main IT system to be installed and completed in three control centres by the middle of next year.
He said: “We have jointly concluded, with regret, that the requirements of the project cannot be delivered to an acceptable timeframe.
“The best outcome for the taxpayer and the fire and rescue community is for the contract to be terminated with immediate effect.”
But the Government did not know what would happen to the buildings, he said.
“Over the next few weeks we intend to identify the extent to which any assets from the project, including the control centre buildings, can be used for the benefit of the Fire and Rescue Service and communities.
“We will also be making arrangements for maintaining products already delivered,” he added.