BLACKPOOL’S top cop says he believes plans for a new £21m police HQ in the resort will boost the resort’s regeneration.
Chief Supt Richard Debicki told The Gazette he welcomed proposals for a new home for Lancashire Police’s Western Division, which covers Blackpool and Fylde.
He said: “It is something that has been talked about for many years now.
“Quite simply, the current police station is not fit for purpose.
“It was built in the 1970s, it’s on eight storeys, it costs a sizeable amount of money to run and that’s not good use of public money. It will not stand us in good stead for the future.
“We have been planning over the last few years how we could get a new station built. I’m really excited – it’s going to be good for the town.”
It is hoped the current station in Bonny Street will be replaced within the next four years and although a site has yet to be chosen, it could form part of the new Central Business District.
Police chiefs are proposing to set aside £21m for the new building.
Moving the headquarters from Bonny Street would free land adjacent to Central Station car park and open up opportunities for developing leisure schemes such as plans to build a snow dome on the site.
There is £5m already in the police capital budget, with another £16m being proposed to be put in over four years, making a total provision of £21m between now and 2016/17.
The money would come from Government grants and capital reserves with addition funds from borrowing.
Chief Supt Debicki added: “The current building stands out because of its age and location.
“I’m working with Lancashire Police Authority to build something which will take us into the future.
“We need a building which will provide much better value for money.”
The decision to approve plans to replace and relocate Western Division headquarters was agreed at Lancashire Police Authority’s meeting on Wednesday.
County Coun Geoff Roper questioned whether cash should be spent on extending the capital programme when “we are all strapped for cash”.
But other members of the police authority branded the current station “a dump” and agreed to put the cash into its capital budget.