Work is set to get underway on a new hub for Merseyside Police which will form part of a wider regeneration project aimed at breathing new life into the Edge Lane gateway into Liverpool.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, has now signed the contract which enables construction firm Wilmott Dixon to begin work on building a new Merseyside Police patrol hub on the Old Swan site, while also providing space for the Force’s vehicle repair facility.
The purpose-built two-storey building, on Edge Lane, will provide a base for approximately 550 police staff, and, once completed in October 2019, will enable teams who are currently based in a number of stations across Liverpool to be brought together under one roof.
The police base will take 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.
By moving Merseyside Police’s vehicle repair facility on to the new Edge Lane site, the Force can vacate the base on Smithdown Lane, as agreed as part of a land swap arrangement. Smithdown Lane can then be used by the City Council in conjunction with the universities to expand the city’s Knowledge Quarter, as part of Paddington Village.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I am pleased to be able to sign the contracts to get work underway at this exciting new development for Merseyside Police.
“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 increase effectiveness and efficiency, which is all part of my wider strategy to reduce the Force’s annual running costs by £2.5m a year, funds which can be directed into 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.”
Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: “I am delighted that the new Edge Lane development has been given the go ahead. It is a really important step for our future policing structure and for all the communities which we serve.
"By bringing our teams together under one roof, on an up-to-date, accessible site, we will be better equipped to face the challenges of modern policing."
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Merseyside Police on this exciting project. Not only will it deliver a modern new police facility that will benefit all residents of Liverpool, it will also act as a catalyst for some of the city’s most ambitious regeneration projects. The scheme will enable us to create a modern new learning environment for the young people at St Cuthbert’s.
“Crucially, it will help the council to progress its plans to create a world leading innovation district in Paddington Village. We believe this £2bn project will attract a significant level of global investment in our city, create a wealth of employment opportunities for our residents and redefine our city’s future.”
Whilst local Old Swan ward Councillor Peter Brennan, added: “It’s great to see this level of investment coming to our ward. My ward councillor colleagues Joanne Calvert and Gary Millar and I believe this development will have a positive impact on the lives of residents and could create a host of new opportunities for local people.”
The Edge Lane development is part of the Commissioner’s 10-year strategy to transform and modernise Merseyside Police’s stations and facilities, while working to reduce the Force’s annual running costs.
It will be 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.