Northamptonshire Police will leave its current Wootton Hall headquarters and it will be turned into a school, the county’s police and crime commissioner has announced.
Adam Simmonds, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, 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.
Mr Simmonds said the details of the “phased exit plan” for staff at Wootton Hall, which will be carried out over the next two-and-a-half years, would be finalised in the next few months
A total of about 600 staff are based at Wootton Hall, including the chief constable and his senior leadership team. The force control room is also currently based on the site.
No alternative site for a headquarters has been identified, although the commissioner has 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.
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, half of which were Northamptonshire Police staff members.
Mr Simmonds 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 said some of the force’s current buildings, including Wootton Hall, were not fit for purpose.
He said: “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.”