POLICE in South Molton are getting ready to move into a brand new station at the end of the month. Work on converting the former infant school in New Road started in April last year and is now complete. Yesterday (Tuesday), the keys were due to be handed

POLICE in South Molton are getting ready to move into a brand new station at the end of the month.Work on converting the former infant school in New Road started in April last year and is now complete. Yesterday (Tuesday), the keys were due to be handed over by contactors Midas Interiors.Police architect and building surveyor Mark Collett told the Gazette that it was hoped the South Molton policing team would move from the current 1960s station on North Road, and be fully operational in the new premises by the beginning of February."The date is still flexible at the moment but we are very close now," he said."We have the unusual luxury of being able to use the old station right up until the move date and will ensure all systems and alarms are up and running before transfer."Mr Collett added that the school, which dates back to 1860 but is not listed, had been in desperate need of saving. He said: "It was in a very bad state of disrepair and starting to get vandalised. We came very close to losing the building forever."We are dealing with an historical building and have been sympathetic in preserving the fabric of the building, while bringing it up to date as a 21st century building that is fit for modern policing."We are really proud of the new station," he added.On Monday, Midas Interiors operations manager Mike Heal told the Gazette their work was now complete and the keys were set to be handed over at 10am the following day."We are pleased to have completed the transformation of a derelict building into a modern high-class police station of which South Molton can be proud of," he said.The work has included the exposing of oak rafters at the front of the building to open it up to its original height; a parade room; changing facilities; a rest room; meeting and training rooms; interview rooms; facilities for PCSOs and special constables; and a public reception. There has also been extensive work on eco-friendly alterations.n MODERN Police station: Carpenter Clive Gluning, Midas site manager, Stewart David, operations manager, Mike Heal, and Carpenter Andrew Heal Ref: AK0420