A ceremony to mark a major milestone towards the completion of a new hub for Merseyside Police and a significant step towards the wider regeneration of the Edge Lane area will take place today.
The traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony will see Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy and Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy sign the last piece of steel which will be installed by construction company Willmott Dixon at the Old Swan centre.
Work will soon begin on kitting out the Vehicle Fleet and Operational Policing Hub which will provide a base for approximately 550 police staff who will begin moving in November this year, with all officers and staff due to be relocated by March 2020.
Once completed it will enable teams who are currently based in a number of stations across Liverpool to be brought together under one roof. This includes the emergency incident response unit, targeted policing teams and the crime demand teams, as well as the vehicle repair centre. It will also form an integral part of a wider regeneration project aimed at breathing new life into the Edge Lane gateway to Liverpool.
Construction on the purpose-built two-storey centre began last August, with the police base taking up approximately half the 20 acre site, while nine acres fronting Prescot Road will be used by Liverpool City Council to rebuild St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School. A large portion of the site previously housed the Fruit, Vegetable and Flower market which was relocated to brand new facilities on Electric Avenue, off the East Lancashire Road, in January and has now been renamed the Food Hub.
The centre has been part funded by capital specifically set aside for the Force’s buildings and part borrowed from approved sources, in accordance with the Prudential Code for capital finance. This money is completely separate from, and cannot be diverted to, the funding used to pay for Merseyside Police’s officers and staff.
The Commissioner and Deputy Chief Constable will be joined by the Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet member for Business Economy and Skills Cllr Gary Millar when they visit the site today to observe the ceremony, take a tour and see how work is progressing.
Jane said: “What quick work! Just six months ago, this was an empty site and now we are here today to mark this significant milestone in the construction phase at this major new hub for Merseyside Police. I’m pleased to be here to witness this critical stage in the development of the new site.
“It is an important day for the team of designers, architects and builders who have been working so hard on this project since proposals for the site were approved by city councillors last June. We are all delighted to see it progressing on time and today marks the next step towards this new bespoke facility becoming operational later this year.
“The officers and staff of Merseyside Police need facilities which are fit for purpose for modern policing. This new development on Edge Lane will ensure our officers and staff are equipped and in the right location to serve our communities now and in the future. This new centre will also save costs and increase efficiency, by bringing teams which are currently based at a number of sites all together under one roof. This will reduce Merseyside Police’s annual running costs, ensuring money can be redirected towards frontline policing.
“It is also pleasing that, through this development, Merseyside Police are playing a major role in helping to regenerate this part of the city. Edge Lane is a major gateway into the city and I have worked for many years to encourage investment and growth in the area. I look forward to watching as it is brought to life for the benefit of the whole community over the coming year.”
The centre is an integral part of the Commissioner’s 10-year strategy to transform and modernise Merseyside Police’s station and facilities, while working to reduce the annual running costs of the police’s buildings by £2.5m.
Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “Merseyside Police is committed to providing a police service that is fit for the 21st century.
“This is part of an ongoing estate strategy. It is essential that all our staff have the appropriate facilities and equipment to allow us to provide the best service we can for the people of Merseyside.
“The Edge Lane development is a vital part of the Merseyside Police estate. It means that we will be able to bring together over 500 police staff, who are currently located at stations across Merseyside, into one central hub and in turn reducing our running costs and improving our efficiency.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: ““It is fantastic to see this impressive new facility rise from the ground in such a short space of time. Edge Lane really is Liverpool’s front door and as such it is important that we bring as much of the area to use as possible to illustrate to everyone that the city is open for business.
“Not only do we get an impressive new police hub that will serve the community but the plans mean we can progress our school investment programme to create a new St Cuthbert’s Primary. So far we have invested £180m in transforming 22 of the city’s schools to give our children the modern learning environments they deserve. We look forward to both of these exciting projects breathing new life into this important area.”
The project was procured via Scape’s Major Works framework, which has since been superseded by Major Works - England & Northern Ireland, part of Scape’s National Construction framework.
Anthony Dillon, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the North, said: “We are very proud to be part of creating these new modern facilities for Merseyside Police, which will provide a quality and value for money environment designed to help front line officers and staff best serve the people of Liverpool.
“Having worked with forces up and down the country, we know that the success of projects such as this is the close collaboration between police, local authorities and all project partners, and that’s exactly what has happened here.
“We believe in leaving a legacy beyond bricks and mortar in the communities in which we work, and will continue to build on the 3,000 apprentice weeks and 1,950 school and college workshops we’ve delivered in this city to date.”
Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, commented: “It’s great to mark this significant milestone in the construction of Merseyside Police’s new patrol hub. The use of our framework has facilitated huge cost and time efficiencies for Merseyside Police, a requirement which is increasingly important for public sector clients looking to secure better outcomes with tighter resources.”
Across the city of Liverpool, Willmott Dixon has delivered over £90m of community and regeneration projects, with a total of £75m spent with local businesses.