Wiltshire councillor Chuck Berry offered to house ambulance service operators at his home to prevent them being relocated to Bristol.

Great Western Ambulance Service will close the Wiltshire ambulance control room next March to save £700,000. The 33 staff who work there will be offered jobs at GWAS’s Bristol control room.

The Wiltshire control room is housed in the joint emergency services centre at Wiltshire Police headquarters in Devizes, alongside operators from the police and fire services. Neil Le Chevalier, executive officer at GWAS, defended the closure of the ambulance control room when he appeared before Wiltshire Council’s Health Select Committee last Thursday in Chippenham.

He told the committee that of the £700,000 savings, more than £500,000 is the cost of renting the joint control room in Devizes.

Coun Berry, who represents Calne North, said: “More than £500,000 for 33 people? Are you mad? That’s ridiculous. Housing 33 people for £500,000 – you can come to my house.”

Mr Le Chevalier said the option of home working was not appropriate for control room operators. The move to Bristol meant they would now be able to answer 999 calls, as well as dispatching ambulances.

Coun Peter Davis said £700,000 was a “minuscule” amount of money when compared to the overall ambulance service budget.

Mr Le Chevalier said up to 60 per cent of the 33 staff had indicated they would work at the Bristol control room.