Like any business or organisation, we must ensure our police service is fit for the future and we are full speed ahead with our plans for the new Surrey Police headquarters in Leatherhead.
The architects, designers and project managers are all now appointed and demolition work underway with a view to completing the project in 2024/25. The new HQ won’t only look and feel good, it’s in a more central place in the county and will be much cheaper to run – saving Surrey taxpayers substantial amounts in the long run. And it will provide a great boost to the local construction industry.
You may remember last year we announced that we had successfully purchased the former Electrical Research Association (ERA) and Cobham Industries site in the town. Since that land was bought, a lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes to satisfy all legal requirements and ready the 10-acre site for the first stage of development. Despite the recent challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have reached some important milestones in the project that I wanted to update you on.
The multi-disciplinary design team will be led by architects Scott Brownrigg, with Project Managers MACE & Quantity Surveyors, Ryder Levett Bucknall also supporting the project, all of which were appointed following a detailed tender process over recent weeks. Being part of the interview panel for the architects’ selection gave me the chance to see Scott Brownrigg’s vision for the new site and it was really exciting. I’m really looking forward to working with them to make that vision a reality.
The Leatherhead base will become an operational hub housing specialist teams as well as chief officers and senior leadership team, support, corporate functions and training facilities. It will replace the existing Mount Browne HQ and Woking Police Station in addition to replacing Reigate Police Station as the main Eastern divisional base.
Further sites at Burpham and Godstone where the Roads Policing Team are based will also be moved to the new location. The sale of those five sites will fund a significant proportion of the cost of buying and developing the new Leatherhead base and we hope the new building will be fully operational in around four to five years’ time.
The move is part of an extensive estates project to deliver long-term savings and create an efficient estate that will allow the Force to work in new ways and meet the challenges of modern policing. It will not alter our local policing presence at all - we are committed to making sure our officers are there whenever they are needed in every borough and district in the county.
The Chief Constable Gavin Stephens and I visited the site back in March before the lockdown to see the demolition work begin and it was really great to the see the tangible progress being made.
I now look forward to seeing those detailed plans put in place that will help shape the future of policing in this county and allow us to meet the challenges of providing an outstanding service for the residents of Surrey. I will keep you updated as those plans progress.