The former headquarters of Warwickshire Police at Leek Wootton is to be marketed for sale with the funding raised to be used to support future policing budgets, Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has announced.
Property specialists GVA have been instructed to market the site, which includes the Grade II listed Woodcote House, other former police buildings and associated grounds.
The remaining policing functions based at the site will be moved to other locations in Warwickshire, primarily to the multi-million pound new control room and associated facilities at Stuart Ross House in Warwick.
The sale of the former headquarters is not affected by the decision of West Mercia Police to give notice to end the collaboration agreement between the two forces, as Leek Wootton has long been identified as too costly to redevelop for modern policing requirements.
Three main areas of the Leek Wootton site are allocated for development:
- the main former HQ complex and Woodcote House to the west;
- grassed area fronting Woodcote Lane to the east; and
- the former tennis courts to the south.
Various areas of woodland on the site are protected from development.
The site is included for residential development within Warwick District Council Local Plan 2011-2029 and also the Leek Wootton and Guy’s Cliffe Neighbourhood Plan 2018-2019. The allocation of 115 new homes includes the conversion of Woodcote House into 12 apartments.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “In the past two years I’ve been investing in the police estate to ensure that it provides our officers and staff with the best resources and the latest technology to help them serve the public more efficiently and effectively. We already benefit from the innovative Justice Centres in Leamington and Nuneaton, with other improvements planned for our other major bases in the county.
“The latest example is the planned relocation of our control room to brand new facilities at Stuart Ross House in Warwick. With a schedule in place for this to become operational in 2019, it means we are now in a position to begin the process of selling the Leek Wootton site.
“There will obviously be an element of sadness in leaving Leek Wootton which has been home to Warwickshire Police since 1949, but the reality is that it no longer meets the needs of a modern police force. It is costly to maintain and doesn’t provide the modern facilities that our officers, staff and volunteers deserve, nor would it be easy or cost-effective to redevelop for policing purposes.
“In marketing the site for sale I am keen to find the right buyer to achieve the maximum value for the taxpayer. The funds this sale will raise will be of considerable benefit to the budgets of Warwickshire Police for many years to come, helping to strengthen our capital reserves, provide funding for future estates development and allow me to prioritise more funding for frontline policing.”
Warwickshire Police’s Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “Leek Wootton has been part of Warwickshire’s Police history for many years and I understand there will be officers and staff sad to see our former headquarters up for sale. However, our focus is firmly on our current and future requirements, both for policing and the communities we protect. With this in mind it was clear to see that Leek Wootton, without considerable investment, did not meet these requirements.
“We have been working with the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure we support the operational functions that are currently still based at Leek Wootton. Our staff are committed to protecting and reassuring our communities and it is important that they are provided with accommodation and resources which suit our policing needs. Stuart Ross House in Warwick will provide us with a modern working environment with the facilities that will serve us well now and in the future.”
For more details about the sale of the Leek Wootton site, please visit GVA’s website at: www.gva.co.uk/leekwootton.