Last year, the Commissioner announced the results of Wiltshire Police’s operational review of the policing estate in the south of the county. It revealed the current Salisbury base at Bourne Hill wasn’t fit-for-purpose in its current format.
Since then, a project team has identified and scoped the possibility of several sites in the Salisbury vicinity which could house a new city station, alongside other key functions, needed to deliver a quality, frontline, police service which meets the needs of its communities.
Locations already considered and ruled out include: two sites at Churchfields Industrial Estate, the city’s former Bingo hall site, land at Brown Street, the former Royal Mail sorting office and Fugglestone Red.
The main reasons for ruling out included the size of sites not able to accommodate a new station, potential locations in conservation areas, which is challenging in any planning process or change of use applications unlikely to be successful.
After discounting eight sites in, and around the city, the team are now working on three different proposals:
PCC Philip Wilkinson said no decision has been made and once more information was available, he intends to bring the detail to Salisbury’s residents for feedback - this would be considered alongside the operational policing advice from the Chief Constable and the finances available.
He said: “Salisbury needs its own station or policing hub – I know this, Wiltshire Police knows this, our residents know this.
“We have listened to Salisbury’s residents, local councillors and key stakeholders and both myself and the Force have committed to providing a solution which works for the city, for our officers and staff, as well as for the south of the county.
“While the decision to close Wilton Road was made based upon the best guidance and advice at the time, to not replace it with something else then was short-sighted in my opinion.
“Since our commitment 11 months ago, our project team has been working hard to find potential sites which could be used. It has been a long process and so far none of the sites explored can provide us with a suitable solution.
“Now we are left in the position of not furthering our commitment knowing the development opportunity landscape in the city or pushing forward with scoping what could be provided at High Post.”
Mr Wilkinson said he knew a compromise would have to be made to deliver on his and the Chief Constable’s commitment.
He added: “We know to provide Salisbury and the south with the police service they want, and deserve, will require compromise somewhere, be that location, configuration or simply balancing policing need with the city’s aspirations and the finances available to me.
“One thing I will not compromise on is the need to ensure that all interested parties are engaged fully in the process and can have their opinions heard and listened to.
“Both the Chief Constable and I want Salisbury’s communities to have officers who are able to operate effectively, with the ability of neighbourhood policing teams to be more visible and accessible to the public and we will work together to deliver this.”
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: “Despite having worked very successfully with our partners in Bourne Hill over the years, I was clear to the PCC upon his appointment that the current estate provision in the south of our county was not meeting all of our operational policing requirements.
“We need an estate which both meets our operational policing requirements but also enables us to provide the best possible service to our communities. We will ensure our communities in Salisbury and the surrounding area are kept fully informed of any developments as we move through this process.”
Published Friday 29 July 2022