Adam Simmonds, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, has announced today that a heads of agreement has been reached between his Office and the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for the sale of part of the Wootton Hall Park site, which currently houses Northamptonshire Police Headquarters.
Following a public consultation on the future of the site, Commissioner Simmonds will over the coming weeks finalise a phased exit plan with Northamptonshire Police. The proposed sale to the EFA will see the site used as a base for the new Wootton Park School, with places being offered to the first cohort of students today.
The decision comes two weeks after the Commissioner formally approved the construction of two new Northamptonshire Police buildings in the north of the county – the Northamptonshire Police Investigation Centre and Northern Accommodation Building, situated just off the A43 next to the A6003 between Kettering and Corby – following discussions with Chief Constable Simon Edens, who confirmed the operational significance of the buildings and that they support the force’s primary purpose of protecting the people of Northamptonshire from harm.
It is anticipated that building work will be completed by spring 2017, while the new premises will provide work space for approximately 350 staff.
The public consultation on the future of the Wootton Hall site – open between 11th January and 7th February this year – attracted a total of 278 responses, approximately 0.04% of those living in Northamptonshire, half of which were Northamptonshire Police staff members. Nearly three quarters of responders agreed that a review of the force’s estate was important in order to make financial savings.
Adam Simmonds, Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said:
“I’m delighted to have reached the stage of heads of agreement with the Education Funding Agency for the sale of part of the Wootton Hall Park site. As both Chief Constable Edens and I agree, the current Northamptonshire Police Headquarters is not fit for purpose, and will cost a significant amount to sustain over the next 25 years.
“I know that Northamptonshire Police leaving Wootton Hall Park is an emotive subject for many officers past and present, however for the reasons stated it is simply not a viable option to remain at the current headquarters.
“Moving to new premises will save in excess of £40million over the next 25 years, which will allow us to keep more frontline officers on the streets, keeping Northamptonshire safe.
“There could be no better legacy to Northamptonshire Police’s work at Wootton Hall than to open a new free school on the site with a specialised, policing and public service-focussed curriculum. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Wootton Park Principal Dan Rosser and all his staff the very best of luck for their first school year.”
Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, Simon Edens, added:
“Policing is changing and is likely to keep changing, at a faster pace, in the future, and I am not satisfied that all of our current buildings, including Wootton Hall, are fit for purpose.
“We need to make sure we have the right type of accommodation, in the right places, to allow us to meet current and future needs so we can continue to protect people from harm and serve our communities.
“I look forward to seeing the plans that will facilitate our move from the Wootton Hall Park site.”
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