Planners approve new police station for Harrogate

Wednesday, 29 September, 2010

Plans for a new state-of-the-art police station in Harrogate have been given the go-ahead by Harrogate Borough Council's Planning Committee.

The new facility planned for Beckwith Knowle will replace the existing police station on North Park Road.

Development proposals include a three-storey police station which will provide a base for around 200 police officers and staff as well as specialist units including scenes of crime, roads policing, CID and a 16-cell custody suite.

Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell said: "This is a major project for North Yorkshire Police which will benefit the people of Harrogate and the surrounding area for many years to come. I am very grateful to Harrogate Borough Council for approving the plans, it is great to see the many months of planning and preparation start to take shape."

Mr Maxwell also thanked North Yorkshire Police Authority for the financial backing for the project. He added: "The current financial climate and the huge pressures on public services to make savings over the coming years has been a major consideration in the authority's decision to give financial approval for the project.

"Many people will rightly question why we are spending such a substantial amount of money in light of government funding cuts. Both the authority and the force have further scrutinised the financial implications of such a major project.

"The reality is the existing station would cost over half the amount of the new build just to repair and would only give us another 10 years' service, after which we would need to think again about relocating.

"The cost of running such an old and outdated property is also much higher. Taking all these factors into consideration, a new station provides the taxpayer with the most cost-effective long-term solution and will provide an effective policing base in Harrogate for many years to come."

Safer Neighbourhood Commander for the Harrogate District, Superintendent Ken McIntosh, added: "This is excellent news for us and the communities we serve in the Harrogate area. The new station will provide a more efficient, streamlined workplace and base for our officers and staff. It will give the infrastructure and support needed to carry out their public duties as efficiently as possible.

"The local Safer Neighbourhood Team base planned for the town-centre will enhance our service and ensure that members of the public will have access to our services in a convenient location."

Chairman of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, Jane Kenyon added; "Given the Authority's responsibility for the stewardship of the police service, we have been working for some time on options to replace the current police station in Harrogate with modern facilities and we are naturally delighted by the decision of the planning committee to allow us to progress our plans. The Authority's role in ensuring that the police force has the resources and facilities to serve the public well has seen this project as a major priority for some time.

"We remain acutely aware of the current financial situation but have been planning for this for a number of years and truly believe that this offers significant long term value to the communities of Harrogate and surrounding areas

"Now that we can make quick progress on the main site, we can focus on identifying the most suitable location for our town based office to ensure that we have a high profile presence in the town centre of Harrogate to ensure that the needs of all within the area are sufficiently met."

The site at Beckwith Knowle has been secured and contracts exchanged subject to planning. The authority will now seek to complete the purchase of the site at the end of the 12-week judicial review period.

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