A CRUMBLING police headquarters is to be demolished after more than 40 years, with executive housing expected to be built on the site.
And Durham Police Authority is now seeking planning permission for a smaller, “greener” replacement HQ next to its current Aykley Heads site, which would cost an estimated £14m to build.
If the go-ahead is given by county council planners, it is hoped that building work will start in the autumn. The work is envisaged to be an 18-month contract, with completion due in the spring of 2014. A decision on the developer will be subject to tender.
The new development is being designed with the highest “green” credentials, as well as creating a modern office environment.
Peter Thompson, chair of Durham Police Authority, said: “This is an exciting project for the police authority and the constabulary.
“We’re looking forward to working with the county council to produce a development which is both worthy of, and sympathetic to, the site.
“The new premises should generate substantial savings and enable the constabulary to deliver an even better policing service to the people of County Durham and Darlington.”
The present HQ dates back to 1969, when the first phase was opened by James Callaghan, then Home Secretary and later Prime Minister.
County Hall, home of Durham County Council and close to the police HQ, could also be demolished under plans to transform the county into an “economic powerhouse.” The Aykley Heads area of Durham is seen by planning bosses as an ideal site on which to build executive style housing in a bid to attract investors to the county.
The demolition of the police headquarters is part of a multibillion-pound blueprint by planners to transform the county, with 29,000 new homes being built and 16,000 jobs created by 2030.
The plans include the proposed building of 3,500 of 5,000 homes on greenbelt land, and laying two major bypasses through countryside.
The new homes would be north of Sniperley park-and-ride, north of the Arnison Centre and east of Sherburn Road Estate on the outskirts of Durham City.
The western bypass would go from B6302 near Stonebridge, to the A691 north of Sniperley park-and-ride.
The northern bypass would leave Rotary Way north of Newton Hall, pass through open countryside and join the A690 east of the Belmont exit.