By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
The chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police wants to push ahead with plans to close Newark’s 15-year-old police station and relocate it to a new building alongside council offices.
A public survey has been launched to determine what local people think about the move.
But Craig Guildford said it will save his force £103,000 a year, so he wants to see it happen.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It is like moving us from a mansion to a three-bedroomed semi. We won’t have to pay as much on lighting, electricity and rates.
“I don’t think everyone understands the history and the reason behind it. Newark Police Station is 75 percent underused. It’s too big for what we need.
“I don’t want officers in police stations. I want them out and about.”
The current station, on Queen’s Road, was built in 2006 at a cost of £7m.
The plans to close the station, sell the land, and move to a purpose-built station at Newark and Sherwood District Council headquarters in Castle House were set to go ahead.
But when Paddy Tipping (Lab) lost the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May 2021, his new replacement Caroline Henry (Cons) wanted to halt the move.
She stated in her manifesto before being elected: “I’m fed up of Newark and other towns across Nottinghamshire losing out while Nottingham gets all the resource.
“This is a perfectly decent building, the closure of which the force admits will only save £100,000 a year. Moving it to the other side of a train barrier which is regularly closed for long periods beggars belief.”
She is now holding a public survey – which finishes this month – with a decision set to be made this summer.
Mr Guildford said the sale of the land, and a Government grant of £1m, will mean the station could move with the remaining cash spent on officers.
Currently, the force has 2,250 police officers but it wants to boost this number to 2,350 by the end of March next year.
He said: “When I landed (as chief constable in February 2017) Newark only had a response team and neighbourhood team.
“Now it has a CID team, local intelligence, town centre officer and its own dedicated Operation Reacher team. The number of officers has substantially increased.
“It is so important officer numbers increase. We are able to investigate more crime and prevent more crime because that is what the public want.
“It is less square feet and more officers on the beat… a 600 metre relocation to a brand new building on the back of council offices.”
It is expected the old police station would be demolished for new homes and businesses as part of a £25m Government grant to improve Newark.
Mr Guildford said he could not disclose how much the new build would cost or how much the force would make from selling the land.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mrs Henry said she was still looking at the best way forward.
She added: “What is the cost to move it (the station), what are the benefits and pitfalls and what are the costs going forward by keeping the current building?
“A lot of that big building is empty because they closed the custody suite there and they are only using part of the upstairs.”
She said hundreds of people had responded to the public survey and she will make a final decision this summer.