MULTI-million pound plans for new police headquarters in North Yorkshire have been dropped by the county's police and crime commissioner, amid plans to merge some functions with neighbouring Cleveland Police.
Police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan has today announced a scheme to build a state of the art new HQ and northern base at South Kilvington has been abandoned in favour of a cheaper deal with Cleveland Police.
Instead of the plan, which attracted opposition from people in the village near Thirsk, the force will merge some operations with Cleveland and use its planned Community Safety Hub at Hemlington in Middlesbrough, around 23 miles north of the South Kilvington site.
Mrs Mulligan said she no longer believed the new build HQ offered value for money.
She added: “Closing the Northern Base project was a tough decision to make, because a lot of effort has gone into the preparatory work, but it is the right thing to do. The new information we have about custody demand, and the possibilities offered through a partnership with Cleveland, give us scope to explore different accommodation solutions. And if that can save us around up to £10m, and cushion North Yorkshire Police from some of the tough economic challenges ahead, then we must take that opportunity."
The new HQ would also have housed a custody suite to serve the north of the county, but those plans have too been halted in favour of saving Northallerton police station from closure and bringing its existing custody cells up to scratch.
In December, the North Yorkshire force announced it had put down a deposit on land for its new HQ, but today's announcement said no planning permission had been applied for and no land purchased, meaning the decision to abandon the scheme could save as much as £10 million.
With new plans at a very early stage, a spokesman for the commissioner said he could not confirm what services would be combined with Cleveland at the Hemlington base.
Mrs Mulligan said working with Cleveland Police would also help tackle cross-border crime and North Yorkshire's Chief Constable Dave Jones has leant his support. He said:
“This is a difficult time financially for all public services, so if there is an opportunity for us to secure the right facilities - at a lower price tag - by doing things differently, then we must grasp it with both hands.
But, the future of the Force's current home in the Grade II* listed Newby Wiske Hall remains under threat as the Commissioner still plans to sell-off the building. Some police jobs will have to move to new locations, but the commissioner's spokesman said they did not yet know whether these would be to existing police stations or new offices.
Story first published: 7.30am, Thursday 31 July 2014