Plans for Milton police station to replace Parkside base granted approval
Plans to build a new police station on green belt land beside Milton Park & Ride have been approved.
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee gave the scheme the green light today (Wednesday, March 10) subject to consultation and confirmation from the secretary of state.
Area commander for the south of Cambridgeshire, Supt James Sutherland said: “After a considerable planning and consultation process, we’re delighted to say that planning permission has now been granted.
“We are extremely excited about the new development and the opportunities it will provide us, including adequate cell provision, which will inevitably reduce travel and time costs allowing our officers to spend more time on patrol.
“We are grateful to everyone who has supported us with this project and we look forward to moving on to the construction phase of the project which we anticipate will start in December (2021) with a view to being operational in the summer of 2023.”
Cambridgeshire Constabulary announced it intended 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 Milton in 2019.
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.
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”.
The new building will include:
- Enhanced facilities enabling the constabulary to respond to, and investigate, complex crimes such as fraud and online investigations more effectively.
- Enhanced facilities allowing for the increased use of virtual courts which reduces the need for travel to courts
- Increase in cell provision from 12 to 24 to help meet future demand
- The facilities and ability to better meet demand as population growth continues
- Better road access, subject to less traffic, enabling officers to respond to calls for service more efficiently
Concerns have been raised about the need for a police station and enquiry office in Cambridge city centre to act as a base for the city centre policing team.
The force says it is committed to providing that and options are currently being explored, including sharing facilities with other public sector partners. Further details, it says, will be provided in due course.
Acting police and crime commissioner, Ray Bisby added: “I welcome today’s decision by South Cambridgeshire District Council and would like to thank all those who participated in the consultation processes.
“Whilst the service provided to the public by the Constabulary continues to be good, it is vital that the Chief Constable has the resources and facilities he needs to keep our growing communities safe.
“This new facility will enable the Constabulary to further modernise its services, meet increasing operational need whilst ensuring it provides adequate custody provision.”