Down payment collars Gloucestershire its own police academy
By Andrew Merrell | 1st July 2019
A £600,000 investment and the backing of GFirst LEP is helping drive plans for a new police training college and conference centre in Gloucestershire.
According to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) it has just acquired part of the former nuclear power station site at Berkeley Green, near Stroud for the academy.
"Agreement has been reached with the owners, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, for a 150-year lease rent-free at a cost of £600k," said a statement from the PCC.
The two-storey, approximately 3,000 square metre building comes with meeting rooms, a canteen, parade ground, limited use of the sports hall and parking for around 250 cars.
"I believe the site has tremendous potential and provides us with an exciting opportunity to utilise local talent and contacts that will help us develop our own centre of excellence", said Mr Surl, the police and crime commissioner for Gloucestershire.
"It has a campus feel where we'll be rubbing shoulders with hi-tech engineering companies, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and the university.
"It's a spectacular location that will take people away from their usual workplace and enable them to focus fully on learning".
David Owen, chief executive of GFirstLEP, Gloucestershire's enterprise partnership, said: "GFirst LEP has invested heavily in the Berkeley site as a key asset for future sustainable growth for the county.
"The really positive move by the constabulary to develop a police academy on the site is fantastic news and adds to the already vibrant mix of business and education at Berkeley"
Plans to move to Berkeley Green were set in motion after the PCC and chief constable, Rod Hansen, decided the constabulary's existing facilities needed revamping and plans to convert Stroud Police Station as a training centre were unrealistic due to the cost of the work and age of the building.
Situated between junctions 13 & 14 of the M5, Berkeley Green is ideally placed for access to the Midlands, the South West and Wales.
Contractor Willmott-Dixon is now on site and work is underway to transform the facility with the target of the police taking-up residence in spring, 2020.
"The chief and I share a vision to provide the very best learning environment for our staff in a stress-free environment where they can listen, learn and plan for the future", said Mr Surl.
"Until now, all our training has taken place away from the county. This is a long-term project that will put the Constabulary on the map with some of the very best training facilities in the South West and beyond."
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