A NEW police station could be built between Salisbury and Amesbury.
Wiltshire Police is named as a potential tenant for a proposed development adjacent to the High Post Business Park.
The force is named on a planning application submitted to Wiltshire Council outlining an extension of the business park, which would see five new buildings built on a 13.4-acre site.
The plan, produced by CSA Architects on behalf of Hibberd Development Ltd, details plans to build offices, general industrial and storage and distribution buildings on a 13.4-acre plot, near Apsley Precision Engineering, High Post Petrol Station and The Stones Hotel.
And it says the proposed scheme would be split between three tenants – Apsley Precision Engineering Ltd, Wiltshire Police and Nationwide Engineering Group & Concretene Ltd.
The Wiltshire Police part of the development would be some 3,900sqm, over three storeys – described as a ‘policing hub’ – providing a new police base for Salisbury, as pledged by Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Philip Wilkinson.
“It is proposed that Wiltshire Police will take ownership of approximately four acres in the centre of the development to deliver the South Policing Hub for Wiltshire,” the application said.
“At this stage, the proposals for Wiltshire Police are outline only, with subsequent Reserved Matters applications to follow.”
The development would provide 318 visitor and staff parking spaces, it went on.
“The general layout of the Wiltshire Police premises is designed to enable a public frontage facing Mitchell Way and a secure service yard at the rear of the building,” the application said.
“A one-way system circumnavigates the building to control access.”
However, PCC Wilkinson said he could not confirm the location of the new hub, as no contracts have been signed.
“After months of negotiations with site owners, I’m pleased to say a decision on the new Salisbury station is close and we will announce the location as soon as the contract is signed,” he said.
“I’m currently pushing hard to get the last few details signed off as I fully appreciate how important this is for the residents of Salisbury and across the south of the county.
“Once the contract is signed, the chief constable and I will discuss the detail of our policing plans for the south with our residents.”
The application said the Wiltshire Police aspect of the scheme met criteria laid out by PCC Wilkinson.
“After listening to residents during the election campaign, the Salisbury community, councillors, the local MP and senior leaders within Wiltshire Police, it was made clear to the PCC that police estate in Salisbury was an issue,” the application said.
“As a result, in September 2021, the PCC asked the Chief constable to conduct a review into the operational police estate in Salisbury and the south of the county.
“The PCC has stated, “to ensure Wiltshire Police delivers an outstanding police force, trusted by our communities. To do that, we need to invest in improving facilities and ensure the Force is fit to be an agile workforce in the 21st Century.
“Wiltshire Police’s current premises at Bourne Hill are not fit for purpose.
“Wiltshire Police have several specific requirements such as; basic policing actions (briefings, interviews and investigations), provision of confidential spaces, storage space and flexible space (to allow them to change to meet operational requirements).
“Such requirements have directly informed their need to have at least a 1.2 acre site plus space for car parking.
“Geographically, their new site also needs to be within five miles of the Salisbury Ring Road (the application site is four miles from the Ring Road). The close proximity to the A345 also provides easy access to the road network and the lack of immediate residential neighbours limits any potential policing impact.”
In July last year, PCC Wilkinson said a suitable site had not yet been found.
He said: “Salisbury needs its own station or policing hub – I know this, Wiltshire Police knows this, our residents know this.
“We have listened to Salisbury’s residents, local councillors and key stakeholders and both myself and the Force have committed to providing a solution which works for the city, for our officers and staff, as well as for the south of the county.
“While the decision to close Wilton Road was made based upon the best guidance and advice at the time, to not replace it with something else then was short-sighted in my opinion.
“Since our commitment 11 months ago, our project team has been working hard to find potential sites which could be used. It has been a long process and so far none of the sites explored can provide us with a suitable solution.
“Now we are left in the position of not furthering our commitment knowing the development opportunity landscape in the city or pushing forward with scoping what could be provided at High Post.”
And he said he knew a compromise would have to be made to deliver on his and the Chief Constable’s commitment.
“We know to provide Salisbury and the south with the police service they want, and deserve, will require compromise somewhere, be that location, configuration or simply balancing policing need with the city’s aspirations and the finances available to me,” he went on.
“One thing I will not compromise on is the need to ensure that all interested parties are engaged fully in the process and can have their opinions heard and listened to.
“Both the Chief Constable and I want Salisbury’s communities to have officers who are able to operate effectively, with the ability of neighbourhood policing teams to be more visible and accessible to the public and we will work together to deliver this.”
Then-Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Kier Pritchard, said: “Despite having worked very successfully with our partners in Bourne Hill over the years, I was clear to the PCC upon his appointment that the current estate provision in the south of our county was not meeting all of our operational policing requirements.
“We need an estate which both meets our operational policing requirements but also enables us to provide the best possible service to our communities. We will ensure our communities in Salisbury and the surrounding area are kept fully informed of any developments as we move through this process.”
For more details, and to comment on the new application, log on to wiltshire.gov.uk and search for reference PL/2023/07223.