Plans for Milton police station to replace Parkside base submitted by Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Cambridgeshire Constabulary has submitted a planning application for its new police station in Milton.
The force announced last year that it intends to close Parkside police station in central Cambridge, which acts as its main hub and custody suite in the south of the county, and move to a green belt site beside Milton Park & Ride.
The constabulary uses a “two-centre policing model,” with hubs and custody suites at Parkside and Peterborough.
But Parkside has been described as “not fit for purpose” and “beyond its functional age,” with the force claiming it sometimes has to take people to Peterborough to be detained due to a lack of suitable custody provision in Cambridge.
Following a formal public consultation earlier this year, the constabulary has now submitted a planning application to South Cambridgeshire District Council for the farmland site at Milton.
“There is no option than to construct a new police station and custody suite on a new larger site as the current standards cannot be achieved within the current building or the existing site,” the planning application says, adding work to extend the use of Parkside completed in 2014 was “only intended to extend the useable lifespan of the buildings for up to five years”.
It says “extensive” analysis found a site just to the north of Cambridge was ideal.
Some 22 locations were considered, but only three were suitably sized and available, all in the green belt. The Milton site was deemed of the “lowest value to the green belt”.
One concern raised in the consultation was the difficulty of reaching the site without a car. The application says it “will be accessible by a range of sustainable travel options including walking, cycling, bus and rail”.
It will be home to about 400 members of staff, with about half that number at any one time, but growth is expected as the area’s population is rising fast. The plan includes 309 parking spaces.
Addressing concerns from residents of siren noise, the application says it is “rare” for blue light runs to start from the station.
Of Parkside, which was built in 1967, the application says: “It is increasingly difficult to meet all the requirements of the human rights, dignity and respect agenda for the many categories of detained persons entering the environment.
“This has also had an adverse effect on the health, wellbeing and morale of staff operating the facility. This has been evidenced with increased time off due to sickness and difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff at Parkside.
“The general restrictive environment, with cramped office and corridor space, lack of natural light in the charge and staff areas, and the need for extra activities to mitigate risk as a result have a negative effect of the staff striving to maintain a safe and effective service.”
The new station would double custody space from 12 to 24 cells.
The application repeats the commitment to retain a Cambridge city-centre “policing base together with an inquiry office”.
The site of that has not been confirmed, but in June it was revealed that Parkside’s neighbouring fire station was one site under consideration.
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