Plans for a new Barnstaple police station will go before councillors next week.
North Devon Council’s planning committee will be asked to approve proposals to open the new station at the former Barum Auto Parts building on Seven Brethren when it meets on Wednesday, June 10.
It is intended as a temporary station for three to five years while the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Devon and Cornwall Police explore options for a new operating base to serve North Devon.
The police are having to move out of their existing station at North Walk, part of the Civic Centre complex, when it was decided that repairing the deteriorating roof was not economically viable.
The Seven Brethren site is owned by North Devon Council and would be an operational patrol base and custodial facility with desk space for up to 154 staff, allowing for short term growth. Some specialist staff would be relocated to an office at Roundswell.
A custody facility would be a self-contained unit within the site with a secure perimeter fence.
The station would have parking for vehicles, interview, meeting rooms and briefing areas, staff rest areas, locker rooms, shower facilities and equipment storage areas.
It would be operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A public enquiry office would be located on the ground floor.
The planning officer’s report to the council says while a town centre site would be preferred, an alternative site cannot be identified within the time period required and recommends approval for the proposals.
It said this is the next available location, with good pedestrian access to the centre and sufficient parking.
In April North and West Devon Superintendent Toby Davies said the prospective base will give the police a ‘strong, visible presence’ in the town centre.
He said: “We have been working hard to identify suitable options that could be delivered within the challenging timescales.
“I am hugely appreciative of the high level of support and flexibility shown by partner agencies in North Devon which has made this task all the more easier.
“The old Barum Auto Parts building is well placed to respond to the demands of our area and provides a strong, visible presence within the town centre. This site will include a public enquiry office and provide an accessible means of contact within an area of high footfall.
“The Seven Brethren site does not have quite enough space to house all of our policing functions, so we will be relocating some of our specialist functions to the Roundswell site. This site is pretty much ready to go and will meet the needs of those policing functions.”