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#Chelmsford: Talks underway to progress sale of Essex Police headquarters

27 Sep #Chelmsford: Talks underway to progress sale of Essex Police headquarters

Essex Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Essex and Chelmsford City Council are in talks to progress the future sale of the headquarters site in Springfield, Chelmsford.

Last October Essex Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner announced plans to reduce the estate down from 80 to approximately 30 buildings and to sell the current HQ site.

To progress the sale of HQ, Essex Police and the OPCC have had preliminary talks with planners at Chelmsford City Council with a view to seeking outline planning permission for residential use of the Springfield site. Gaining planning permission will allow the site to be sold for the best possible price.

This money can then be used to fight and prevent crime more effectively and to create a new headquarters which is fit for the needs of a modern police force and for the future.

Essex Police is exploring the option of sharing accommodation with Essex County Fire & Rescue Service (ECFRS) at their headquarters site in Kelvedon and are currently undertaking a feasibility study to this effect. If this option were to be viable the force would propose to use the site as its headquarters, housing Chief Officers and some other teams.

We are also currently exploring a number of sites to house a new operational policing and investigations centre. This would house specialist teams and replace our existing site at Boreham.
Essex Police hope to have a preferred site for our headquarters and a new operational policing centre by Winter.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Baldwin, of Essex Police’s Strategic Change Team, said: “Our current HQ is on a sprawling site made up of numerous ageing buildings that are in a poor state of repair.

“It is hugely costly to run and does not meet the needs of modern policing.

“Our proposed new HQ and operational policing centre will be modern, more efficient and greener and help officers tackle the challenges of increasingly sophisticated and new types of crime.

“We remain committed to ensuring that once we have any further significant updates that we will keep our staff, members of the public and our partners as up to date as possible.”

Roger Hirst, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said:  “It is police officers out in our communities that prevent crime and keep people safe, not police buildings. I will continue to drive the modernisation of Essex Police stations and buildings, refurbishing key sites such as Southend police station, and closing and selling those buildings that are no longer suitable for our policing purposes.

“One of my key objectives is to ensure that any money raised through this process is used primarily to help deliver more local, accessible and visible policing, a priority in my new Police and Crime Plan. We propose to sell the existing Essex Police Headquarters site in Springfield, and are now in discussions with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to explore opportunities to develop and expand their site in Kelvedon as a new Headquarters for Essex Police.”

The current HQ site at Chelmsford is spread across 20-acres and is made up of numerous buildings, some of which are nearly 100-years-old, which no longer meet the needs of a modern police force.

The first part of the site was developed in 1903 and since then various additions have been built to house the 1,800 staff currently based there. Many of these additions are now in a poor state of repair and some are even derelict.