Plans for a new police headquarters in Blackpool prompted plenty of questions when they went on display for the first time.
Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw said they generated ‘a great deal of interest’ when he was in the Houndshill Shopping Centre on Saturday to talk to members of the public.
If the plans are approved, the new Western Division headquarters on Clifton Road would open in 2018, replacing the outdated Bonny Street HQ.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “T he current building is simply costing too much to maintain and isn’t fit for what we need operationally for the future so it has now become a business need to deal with the building and invest in a new station.
“The plans for the new building are impressive and will provide a new base for local neighbourhood teams and immediate response officers.”
The new three-storey police station would have a 50-year life-span and save the force £180,000 a year in running costs, Mr Grunshaw said.
The long-awaited building will also provide a base for the resort’s neighbourhood police, and immediate response teams as well as a public enquiry desk, investigations hub and 42 custody cells.
Mr Grunshaw said: “It was clear that there is a great deal of interest and support for policing in Blackpool.
“I will also be meeting with residents of Mereside, later this week, with the new build project team to discuss the plans at their PACT meeting.”
The plans are seen as a major step forward for the long-awaited development of the former Central Station site, which closed more than 50 years ago. A deal struck last year will see Blackpool Council buy the Bonny Street building and sell the former Progress House site to police. It will rent out space at the Municipal Buildings, on Corporation Street, for police to use as a town centre public enquiry desk to help fund the move.
Speaking when the deal was unveiled, the leader of the council said it made ‘good business sense’ to buy the police station. Coun Simon Blackburn added: “It is no secret that we have been speaking to developers for years about the Central Station site.
“Unfortunately the one sticking point that keeps coming up is that the police station is in the middle of a potential development site.”