With Rutherford Diagnostics announcing this week it is applying to go into liquidation, we take a look at the headache caused by the previously unused premises it occupies on the edge of Taunton.


THE decision by Rutherford Diagnostics to locate to previously unused premises appeared to be the end of a nightmare that had cost the taxpayer north of £20million.

There were fears that bill could double until the company moved into the block on Blackbrook Park Avenue last September.

The 'white elephant' building was completed in 2007 and was supposed to be one of nine purpose built regional fire centres handling 999 calls, replacing 46 separate centres nationwide.

But the Zenith Fire Control Centre plan, the brainchild of the Tony Blair Government back in 2004, was abandoned without any staff ever having moved in.

Contracts had already been signed and the Government was forced to pay the hefty rent, security and maintenance costs of a vacant building that was never occupied.

There was some cursory interest when the Government offered sweeteners to anyone prepared to take it on, but there were no takers and it continued to haemorrhage money - until Rutherford arrived on the scene.

By that time the overall bill met by the taxpayer had soared past £20million and the final bill would likely have broken the £40million barrier by the time the contract expires in 2028.

So there was widespread relief when Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Musgrove, secured a change of use planning application to create a diagnostics centre on the ground floor, with offices on the first and second floors.

It was to be used to carry out CT, MRI and ultrasound scans and X-rays as part of a partnership with Rutherford Diagnostics Ltd to cope with growing demand for diagnostic services at the hospital, whose location restricts its expansion on the existing campus.

But this week's announcement by Rutherford Diagnostics that it was applying to go into liquidation has once again plunged the future of the highly expensive to run building into uncertainty.

READ MORE: Rutherford Diagnostics set to go into liquidation.