NORTH YORKSHIRE Police’s purchase of disused offices in Northallerton has been welcomed as a boost to efforts to rejuvenate the town.
The force confirmed it has bought the former Rural Payments Agency offices for £4.7 million to be used as its new headquarters.
It plans to move from its current home, the listed Newby Wiske Hall in 2017 with the entire cost of the transfer estimated at around £7 million.
Hambleton Council leader Mark Robson said: “The move into Northallerton by North Yorkshire Police will boost the district Council’s ambitious plans to redevelop the prison site – where we hope to see retail, leisure, housing, business and community uses.
“The Rural Payment Agency closed at the same time as the prison and that has had an effect on the economy of the town.
“Both these schemes will help rejuvenate Northallerton and add to the vibrancy of our county town.”
Hambleton Council has announced it is now searching for a partner for the prison redevelopment project.
The site covers 3.4 acres and the authority hopes it will be used for housing, shops and leisure facilities.
The redevelopment is expected to be completed in 2017, coinciding with the transfer of the police headquarters.
The authority will redevelop the site, bought from the Government for £1.4 million earlier this year, with the help of a commercial partner and share the proceeds.
North Yorkshire Police has been looking for a new headquarters for a while with Newby Wiske Hall considered no longer suitable.
A previous plan would have seen the force’s headquarters moved to a new ‘northern base’ at South Kilvington but the development was scrapped amid local opposition and on cost grounds.
North Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, Julia Mulligan, has argued the revised plan will cost up to £12 million compared to the scrapped South Kilvington development.
She said: “This is another positive step forward to North Yorkshire Police, and marks another milestone in the transition in becoming a more innovative, agile and responsive police force.
“Moving from a grade II listed stately home, costing over £1 million a year to run, into this much more practical and modern building is very welcome indeed.
“Reducing the cost of North Yorkshire Police’s estate is an important part of meeting our savings targets, and frees resources which we can focus on front line policing; resources which will become increasingly scarce over the next few years.”
It is estimated the move to Alverton Court will save the force £4 million over the next 30 years compared to remaining at Newby Wiske Hall.
Dave Jones, chief constable of North Yorkshire Police, said: “I am very pleased that the purchase of Alverton Court has been completed.
“The new accommodation will be much more in keeping with our needs as a modern and progressive police service.”
Talks are already underway between the police and Hambleton Council over possible future uses for Newby Wiske Hall which dates back to the 17th Century.
The force has said the Hall will be put up for sale “as soon as is practicable”