Flattened council site to be new police station?

Demolition of Progress House on Clifton Road
Demolition of Progress House on Clifton Road
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Speculation Blackpool’s main police station could relocate to the edge of town has sparked calls for a central crime-fighting presence to be maintained.

Work has now almost been completed to demolish former council offices at Progress House on Clifton Road in Marton.

It is believed the site is one of the options being looked at by Lancashire Police which is seeking to replace the out-dated Bonny Street police station.

However police and town hall chiefs have so far not committed to any proposals.

A spokesman for the office of the police and crime commissioner for Lancashire said: “We can confirm that we are looking at two site options in Blackpool, but that negotiations are still at a sensitive stage.

“Therefore we are not in a position to be able to share any more details at this time.”

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, said he would prefer the main police station to remain in a town centre location.

He said: “I would prefer to keep the main police station in the heart of Blackpool because otherwise it’s a long way for people to go to report crime.

“My preferred site is for it to be behind North Station as part of the Talbot Gateway.

“If it were to relocate to the Progress House site, it is a long way to the other end of North Shore.

“I would like to see the council attract new business in to the Progress House site which I would prefer to be manufacturing so that it might create jobs.

“The location is very close to the end of the M55, and is near to existing industry on Clifton Road, so seems perfect for that kind of use.”

Blackpool Council said negotiations were still ongoing in relation to the potential sale of the Progress House site but refused to comment further.

The offices have been empty since staff were transferred to new accommodation last year including at Bickerstaffe House in the Talbot Gateway Central Business District 
development.

A £21m pot of cash has been set aside for the relocation of the police station since 2012, after warnings the Bonny Street building is coming to the end of its life.

Any new police station will serve the Western Division of Lancashire Police which includes Blackpool, Fylde, Lancaster and Wyre.

The relocation of the police station is also seen as a further step towards freeing up land at the Central Station site for a potential leisure development.