Jobs fears raised over axed police HQ

The leader of a North Yorkshire Council fears the decision to scrap plans to build a new police HQ near Thirsk will have a knock-on effect on the local economy.

Coun Mark Robson, the leader of Hambleton District Council, says he fears the decision will hit local businesses and shops.

“Hambleton has already been struck by the closure of the prison and the Rural Payments Agency in Northallerton – this move could lead to even more job losses for the district,” Coun Robson said.

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North Yorkshire Police were planning to build a Northern Base in South Kilvington, near Thirsk, but last week police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan unexpectedly announced the proposal was to be abandoned and that the force would instead share facilities with neighbouring Cleveland Police.

Mrs Mulligan says £10m can be saved by not having a new-build headquarters to replace the Grade II-listed Newby Wiske Hall, near Northallerton. A spokesman for Mrs Mulligan has said halting the plan when new opportunities arose was the right decision to stop more cash being spent.

Rather than create a new ten-cell custody suite as part of the development, the existing suite at Northallerton police station will be refurbished. But the £620,000 that had been spent on the project before it was abandoned has prompted criticism that enough money to pay for a number of police officers has been “frittered away in a pointless exercise”.

Coun Robson fears the move will hit traders: “Once staff are moved to Cleveland they are not going to travel back to Hambleton to do their weekly grocery shop or go to the bank or newsagents.”