Police chiefs have reassured residents they will maintain a town centre base in Blackpool when Bonny Street police station closes.
Work is now underway to draw up plans for a new modern divisional headquarters on the edge of town after a multi-million pound deal was agreed by Blackpool Council’s executive.
It is great news for Blackpool and for the other areas we police as the location offers fantastic transport links to other parts of the policing area as well as the rest of the county
The council will buy the outdated Bonny Street building for £3.2m, paving the way for leisure development on the Central Station site, while the police are buying the council’s now flattened Progress House site on Clifton Road, Marton, for £2.2m for their new headquarters.
The latter will include office and specialist accommodation, a public inquiry area and a 42 custody cell complex, while the building will incorporate new energy efficient elements to reduce running costs.
With its easy access to the motorway network, it will act as divisional headquarters for the whole Fylde coast and Lancaster.
But a town centre inquiry desk will be retained to provide a base for local response and neighbourhood teams, with the police renting space in Blackpool town hall.
Divisional commander Stuart Noble said: “The new headquarters will provide a modern and efficient operational base from which we can deliver quality policing services to the whole of the West division.
“It is great news for Blackpool and for the other areas we police as the location offers fantastic transport links to other parts of the policing area as well as the rest of the county.
“I want to reassure the residents of Blackpool that we will still have a base in the town centre and, for those in other parts of the division, it will be business as usual with no significant change.”
The agreement with the council includes leasing back Bonny Street police station for a period of up to five years while the new headquarters is being built.
A £21m pot of cash has been set aside by the police for the relocation of the police station since 2012, after warnings the Bonny Street building was coming to the end of its useful life.
Demolition of Progress House was completed at the beginning of this year after staff were transferred to the council’s new offices, Bickerstaffe House, in the Talbot Gateway.
The relocation of the police station is seen as a major step towards assembling a large enough development site to attract major investment to the Central Station area which has been used as a car park since the old station was closed 50 years ago.