Pewsey’s former police station – earmarked for disposal as part of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Estates’ Strategy – has been secured by a community land trust.
The station, in the village’s Market Place, was one of a number of buildings across the police estate identified as being surplus to operational policing requirements.
Pewsey Community Land Trust was told earlier this month its bid to buy the property, and redevelop the site for affordable housing and a business unit, had been successful.
The disposal is a continuation of the agreed Estates' Strategy and the agreement is now in the hands of both legal parties.Completion is expected by the end of summer, after a new PCC has been elected.
Kieran Kilgallen, OPCC Chief Executive, said: “Modern-day policing demand is very different and ensuring that we have police estate which contributes to 21st century policing and is fit-for-purpose is essential.
“We know that sales of stations make people nervous but buildings don’t keep our communities safe from crime. Having officers in the community and able to respond quickly where, and when, they are needed is important.
“All capital from the estate sale is being reinvested in improving facilities and ensuring frontline staff have what they need to keep people safe and operate effectively in the years to come.
“We were delighted to inform the Trust of their successful bid and wish them every success in the development of the site to benefit their local community.”
The Estates Strategy, which has been in place from 2017, required Wiltshire Police to conduct a needs assessment of all the police estate to ensure it was fit-for-purpose and met the current, and future, need of operational policing within the county.
Those buildings identified as not meeting the policing need were marketed for sale, with the proceeds being reinvested into improving facilities - ensuring Wiltshire Police estate is fit to support policing in the 21st century, with frontline staff equipped to keep communities safe and to operate effectively.
Recent investments in the police estate, as a result of the OPCC Estates' Strategy, include a complete refurbishment of Royal Wootton Bassett Police Station, a new policing hub at the planned Tidworth Community Civic Centre, and a new police station at Warminster.
Patrick Wilson leads the PCLT Board and Advisory Group. He said: “PCLT is really pleased, and excited, the OPCC has accepted our offer to purchase the former Police Station site and police house.
“This acquisition will secure the redevelopment of the important site in the village in the community’s hands and provide the opportunity to refurbish the house and build up to six flats and one business unit on the land behind the house, all to Net Zero Carbon standards.
It is such good news that the first housing project for PCLT is in the centre of the village, where it is within easy reach of facilities and is well connected by public transport. As with all Community Led Housing schemes, it is important to build homes that fit with the needs of our community. This is the chance for the village of Pewsey to set out ambitions for its future."
The Board and Advisory Group are now working hard to investigate the various ways to raise funds for the work involved, talking to Homes of Our Own, Wiltshire’s CLT hub, and to Housing Associations as long-term partners in the project.
PCLT will be participating in a ‘Pewsey Open Day’, organised by Pewsey Parish Council, at the end of September with Community Engagement so that all existing members, and those wishing to join or to help in any way, have a chance to contribute to the design and development of the project.
In the meantime, Pewsey CLT is keen to recruit individuals with financial and administrative skills who are ready to volunteer to participate. You can join in by contacting [email protected], through www.pewseyclt.org and via Facebook.