Cheltenham police station to move to Bishop's Cleeve
CHELTENHAM police officers will move from their outdated Lansdown Road headquarters to a new base in Bishop's Cleeve within three years.
Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl confirmed for the first time the timeframe to move officers at a meeting of Bishop's Cleeve Parish Council.
It comes after plans for a new £12.4million cell block in Waterwells, Gloucester, were given the go-ahead in June.
The new police station will be built on the land next to GE Aviation, between Bishop's Cleeve and Southam off the A435 and will replace the current 1960s-building, which Mr Surl said had become "outdated".
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Ambitious plans in 2004 were made for a £20million headquarters.
But Mr Surl said the new block will only be an administration centre, with an estimate cost between £2million and £3million.
The move should be completed in two to three years.
He will start plans for the site after undertaking discussions with chief constable Suzette Davenport.
Mr Surl, a former police officer in Cheltenham, said: "I am a local person, born in Cheltenham and served as a police officer in Cheltenham, so I know the area.
"We are not going back to the old plans from 2004.
"We haven't got that much money anyway, but it is not to say nothing will be done.
"I will still need to do a complete review of the plans, but it will done as soon as possible.
"It has been agreed that the Lansdown Road building is not fit for purpose."
He insisted the custody suite in Waterwells had to be agreed on before they could start on moving the old Cheltenham station.
The new building in Bishop's Cleeve will not have holding cells.
"Now that the custody suite has been sorted, we can think about what to do with the Cheltenham station," he added.
"It will not be a big headquarters, but a place where officers and PCSOs can come back to and go out on patrol."
He added not all of the land will be used for the new building, although it has yet to be decided.
Borough councillor Barbara Driver (C, Lansdown) said she had no problem with the building moving to Bishop's Cleeve, but insisted the police needed to create a police point in the centre of Cheltenham.
She added: "The old building has become old and outdated, and it is used for a lot of other services, like seminars. I have no problem with it moving to Bishop's Cleeve, it is not far away at all.
"I just think there is a need for at least a police station in Cheltenham, and if it is manned 24 hours, the better. It reassures people in town if we have one here."
Peter Lightfoot, chairman of Bishop's Cleeve Parish Council, welcomed the news, although he said the plans will have to include how officers might access the station, with the A435 grid locked during peak hours.