PCC pushing through planning application for Greyfriars police station development

Greyfriars police station
The redevelopment has been dogged by set backs

A prominent town centre eyesore in Bedford is edging closer to having its future resolved, insists Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway.

Talks have been on-going for months over the dilapidated Greyfriars Police Station building.

Much of its former policing uses have ceased, but the premises is still occupied by Bedfordshire Police’s Athena IT system team.

A change of use application for the Greyfriars site is due to go before a Bedford Borough Council planning committee meeting later this month.

“Discussions continue with the local authority’s planning department, our planning consultants and our architect over both the pre-application scheme and the change of use,” said an estates report to a meeting of Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel.

One of the issues has involved maintaining an access route into the site for future occupants of the building, without which its value would drop.

The update from the office of the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, explained the change of use “is expected to go before the planning committee meeting on October 28th.”

It added: “An outline planning application is due to follow after that decision is known.

“The Athena team continues to occupy the premises while the work to create its permanent base at Halsey Road is being scoped.

“Statutory maintenance and testing still continues on site.”

When the potential availability of the site first became known there was interest from several bidders wanting to turn it into a residential development.

But a series of frustrating delays have followed and the police decided to seek pre-sale outline planning permission themselves.

The premises were put on the market by the PCC as long ago as July 2017, when Kathryn Holloway described it as “no longer fit for purpose”.

She promised police would receive “maximum benefit” from the sale, with the cash destined to replace their temporary custody suite at Kempston.

As well as a shortlist of private bidders, there was also an interested party from the public sector over a sealed bids process.

She said previously: “As a result of delays experienced, I have insisted we progress with outline planning permission, as this is likely to achieve the highest price.

By Local Democracy Reporter Euan Duncan
with additional words by the Bedford Independent

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