An announcement on the future of Newark Police Station is expected to be made “shortly” – but only after the Police and Crime Commissioner has listened to residents’ concerns.
Caroline Henry told members of Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Panel on Wednesday (September 8) to “watch this space” when it comes to a decision on closing the £7million station.
However, she says her decision only will be made once she has taken on board thousands of responses to a public consultation.
It comes after Craig Guildford, Nottinghamshire Police’s Chief Constable, reaffirmed in July his desire to close the 15-year-old station, and relocate services to a new hub at Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Castle House.
This, he believes, would save the force £103,000 a year and put more officers on the streets.
But Mrs Henry, who was elected as police and crime commissioner in May, wants to halt the move and made mention of the plan in her election manifesto.
She said at the time it “beggars belief” the force would opt to close a facility she describes as in a decent condition.
Mrs Henry confirmed the public consultation, which ended in July, received more than 37,000 responses across social media, as well as more through alternative formats.
These are now being read and considered by the police and crime commissioner’s office.
Councillor Johno Lee (Con), who was representing Newark and Sherwood District Council at Wednesday’s meeting, asked Mrs Henry for a “rough date” for the announcement.
He said: “We fully support Newark Police Station being moved.
“Very happily, both shocked and surprised, 37,700 people engaged with the consultation.
“I know you did mention you will be announcing soon, I’m wondering if you’ve got a rough date on that.”
In response, she said: “Watch this space Johno. It was 37,000 people who engaged through social media, we had other surveys for public engagement.
“We’re looking at what those responses are, and I know the council is supporting the move but I’m listening to what the whole of the community want.
“I’m having some very interesting conversations with the chief [constable], and there will be a decision made shortly.”
She added: “I haven’t said which way it’s going yet, as I’m listening to what people are saying.”
Cllr Andre Camilleri (Con), who was representing Nottinghamshire County Council, raised concerns in the meeting about the potential closure.
He described it as a “very controversial” move, fearing a loss of resources in the town, and believed moving police officers into council facilities “doesn’t always work”.
In response, Chief Constable Mr Guildford said: “We have great relationships, and as a factual issue, the proposal isn’t to close and have no station in Newark, or to reduce any resources.”