Artist's impression of the Community Safety Hub
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger has given the green light to progress with plans to build a new headquarters on the preferred site at Hemlington Grange in Middlesbrough.
Mr Coppinger has agreed a proposal to build a 5000 square metre Community Safety Hub, after he said he would like to see a building which is accessible to the public, partner agencies and other emergency services.
The building will be funded by the sale of the current Ladgate Lane site, with advanced negotiations taking place to complete the sale over the next few months. Money from the sale must be used for infrastructure or assets as rules stipulate it cannot be used to fund staff or police officers.
The old Ladgate Lane headquarters was built in the 1970s and is no longer fit for purpose, costing the Force around £1million per year to run. The repair bill for the building would run into millions and in contrast a new facility would be cost-effective, efficient and bring the Force into the 21st Century. It is estimated that around £200,000 plus additional gains from collaboration activities would be saved per year by moving to a new build, and of course the carbon footprint would also be reduced.
It is hoped that the development and construction of the building will boost the local economy and during the tender process, contractors will be asked to stipulate how they could create ‘living wage’ jobs in the area.
The next phase of the project will be to identify suppliers to take the build forward, with current estimations of a new base being ready in 2016.
Consultation with residents in the locality will be ongoing following the decision, which initially took place when the move was first proposed under the former Police Authority. The PCC has undertaken over 190 meetings with residents and community groups across Cleveland since his election and a new base has been discussed as part of his medium term plans.
Mr Coppinger said: “A Community Safety Hub is a major boost for the area and will provide a cost-effective and viable base for policing in the future.
“As we look to strengthen and add to our current collaborative projects, locally and regionally, I felt it important that the building could be used as a base for other emergency services, partners, and was accessible to members of the public.
“The Community Safety Hub is part of our estates strategy and financial plan, which was recently praised by the independent police inspectorate, HMIC.
“I’m keen to stress that frontline policing budgets will not be affected by the build and we remain committed to a model where neighbourhood policing is at the forefront.”
Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer said: “I’m pleased that we are able to support our staff and the local community with a new state of the art facility which will enable us to meet the needs of policing in the future.
“Even in challenging times, it’s important that we invest in new technology and infrastructure so that we can achieve savings and deliver a better service in the longer term.”
The decision comes as North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan calls a halt to plans for a new Headquarters at South Kilvington near Thirsk.
PCC Barry Coppinger added: “I have always expressed a desire to open up our new Community Safety Hub to partners who want to share accommodation and we are currently in discussions with North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan and Chief Constable Dave Jones around co-location of some services.
“It is also our intention to look at developing collaborative options for the provision of some operational policing services, which will potentially enhance borderless policing along the Cleveland/North Yorkshire border.
“The potential sharing of premises will open up new opportunities, however I am keen to stress that our current partnership arrangements and collaboration projects will not be affected.”
Posted on Thursday 31st July 2014