Application Submitted to Demolish Former Gwent Police Headquarters for New Custody Suite
AN APPLICATION to demolish Gwent Police’s former headquarters – where a a new custody suite is planned – has been submitted.
The force wants permission to start pulling down the amenity and administration buildings at its former base outside Cwmbran before later this year demolishing the fleet centre and garage.
A planning application to build a new custody suite with 50 cells to detain suspects at the site, a training building, and a new vehicle workshop, where the force will maintain its fleet and undertake work such as MOT testing, has already been submitted.
Anyone arrested in Gwent is currently taken to custody at either of the force’s two existing suites at Ystrad Mynach or Newport Central. Gwent Police has said a new, modern “fit for purpose” custody suite is the “primary driver” for the redevelopment of the site and has described Newport Central as “old, tired and not fit for purpose”.
On a typical day, according to the planning application, Gwent Police arrests 25 people and says it offers those it releases a lift home. It claims “there are very few occasions when those released refuse the offer of transport”. Those who decline normally do so as friends or family are collecting them and the application states “few individuals currently use public transport” to get home.
According to the latest application submitted to Torfaen Borough Council, all the current buildings on the site, at Turnpike Road, and bordered by the A4042 Croeysceiliog bypass, will eventually be demolished, but prior approval to demolish the amenity and administration buildings is being sought.
Work to “soft-strip” the two buildings of asbestos and other internal materials is already under way and will be completed before the structures are torn down.
Permission has already been given for the hoarding, which currently surrounds the site and that will remain in place until the redevelopment, if approved, is completed,
The application for the new buildings on the site, to form the Gwent Police ‘Operational Facility’, also covers the demolition of the fleet centre and garage.
It is hoped that can take start in June this year, with the delay due to bat roosts in the building, but surveys have shown there are no roosts in the amenity or administration buildings or any other ecological restrictions.
Under the plans for a new operational facility a police hub – containing the custody suite –will be built at the centre of the current site, with the vehicle workshop and training base at either side.
The hub will have a “voluntary attendee suite” on the lower ground floor and the 50 cells on the ground floor as well as briefing and meeting rooms, response offices and welfare facilities. Voluntary interviews are conducted at stations across the force area and it’s anticipated only those from the Cwmbran area will need to attend the hub.
The training building will have classrooms and also house a gym, canteen and meeting spaces for all three buildings, while the vehicle workshop, which will be to the northern end of the site, will also have offices.
A total of 299 parking spaces will be provided with 193 for staff and 93 for operational vehicles including 31 for response vehicle spaces in front of the hub building with clear exit routes to the south and west to give “optimal response times”.
There will be 22 electric vehicle charging spaces, four accessible bays including three in the visitor car park, six motorcycle spaces and 36 secure bicycle spaces.
The electric vehicle charging points won’t be used for operational police vehicles as the force has no plans to change from combustion engines.
A memorial garden will also be provided, which will also be an area where staff can relax, and will replace an existing memorial area at the northern boundary.
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