Police station plan approved

Monday 12th October 2015 10:31 am
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A NEW proposal for housing and office space at the Haslemere’s old police station in West Street has been granted planning permission.

Revised plans to convert the police station, which closed in 2012, will see the main building converted into an office and four flats, with four new homes at the back, after the cell block and garage are demolished.

There would also be car parking on site and a cycle store.

Waverley Borough Council (WBC) turned down plans by the same architect, which would have seen an office and five apartments and six houses at the back, in February.

The former police house next door, built in the 1950s, has its own car parking. It was not part of the rejected application, but will be revamped as a home and sold or let.

West End Homes, which is leading a consortium which includes local contractors Kingsbury Home Improvements and Haslmere-based architects One-World Design are buying the whole site and have exchanged contracts with Surrey Police.

Permission for the new project was given by councillors sitting on Waverley’s southern area committee on last Wednesday.

Stephen Mulliner, a borough councillor for Haslemere, said the design for an extension, currently planned to be built with grey bricks, should have a variation in colour.

He said: “I am perfectly happy with the general design of the extension, but as a planning committee we have one chance to have some influence on how the thing appears.

“I am glad they have got some different colours for the rear of it. I dislike boring buildings and long stretches of the same colour.”

Architect Chris Medland, of One-World Design, said the idea was to move his own company offices into the old police station and to make it the company’s headquarters.

When the new plans were submitted in August, he told The Herald: “We are our own clients and we are going to make it our home.

“The intention has always been to convert the ground floor area at the police station for our future office HQ – and we want to move into the building as soon as we can.”

The company, which has been involved in major projects such as the Thames Diamond Jubilee footbridge as well as residential schemes in the local area, has its main office in Battersea for now, as well as one in Haslemere.

Mr Medland added: “We are trying to keep the building [the main police station] as it is as opposed to someone else coming along and demolishing it and building something else entirely.”

The two-storey building in the town centre conservation area was built in 1925 and was designed by local architect Frederick Hodgson in neo-Georgian style.

Many of the original fixtures and fittings remain, although other outbuildings and garages were added later and the single storey cell block was built in the 1960s.

As part of the application, an ecological survey established bats roost in parts of the main building and a single storey block behind it.

Bats are a protected species, and Natural England advised works should take place when bats are most likely to be absent, during the autumn, as well as installing bat roosting boxes.

Haslemere Police Station was closed along with others in the county in 2012, but the sale was put on hold as part the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey’s estate review.

It was then listed as an “Asset of Community Value” by Waverley Borough Council and any interested community groups were given six months to submit a bid for the property.

In 2013, ideas for its future use included as an indoor market, however no community bids were made, and the property went back on the market.

The Haslemere police team relocated to an office at the Waverley Borough Council building in Wey Hill.

In March this year, The Herald revealed the town could lose its fixed police presence in the town. But Surrey Police released a statement saying it would maintain the same level of response with neighbourhood officers on the streets.

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