Plans for the new police station due to replace the current Wrexham town centre headquarters have been submitted giving a first glimpse at the new facility.
A full application for the development of a 32-cell custody suite on Llay Industrial Estate has been submitted to Wrexham Council by North Wales Police which will partially replace Wrexham’s policing buildings – a separate smaller station will be built into the Library in the town centre.
Initial plans for the relocation of Wrexham’s Police Station were first revealed by Wrexham.com in October 2013 after it was discovered that land on Llay Industrial Estate had been secured for the development of the new facility. The land previously was used as the Sharps Electronic Warehouse however at present the site is vacant.
In the application submitted and to be heard by Wrexham Council it has been proposed that the existing portal frame warehouse is demolished and the site is redeveloped to provide police office storage, a custody building, ancillary parking and new access from Davy Way.
The new police head quarters in Llay will replace the current divisional facility on the Bodyfryd site. The existing building, which has become somewhat of an iconic part of the Wrexham landscape was built in the 1970s and is described as having poor facilities, high running costs and no longer suitable for 21st century policing and has been described as a ‘concrete monstrosity’.
It is anticipated that the current police tower in Wrexham Town Centre will be demolished in August 2016, with the town centre police station due to move into the former Oriel Gallery on Rhosddu Road, early next year.
The new head quarters will largely serve rural parts of Wrexham and it is likely the facility will also provide services for Flintshire.
Within the application’s Design and Access Statement it is noted: “The PCC wishes to create an out of town facility which will combine existing ageing operations from Wrexham and Flintshire. The chosen site provides a central geographical location meaning efficiencies of the merger can be realised.”
The police station itself has been split into three distinct elements which ‘reflect the different internal uses’, these include Custody/Ancillary, Atrium and Office.
Speaking about the overall design of the building, the Design and Access Statement notes: “At the front of the facility, the landscape treatment is of a simple civic appearance with a formal urban character.
“This is the interface between the public and the facility, so that the materials and landscape design are accordingly visually appealing, attractive and robust to create a sense of welcome and accessibility. All routes are designed to be accessible to all. New fencing along the building frontage on Davy Way will be a powder coated weld mesh type, backed with planting, to create a sensitive and secure boundary.”
Security and access is mentioned in the plans: “The accommodation to the front of the building at ground floor will be accessible by the public. Access to the rest of the facility is for operational staff only, with security access controls located in key locations to prevent unauthorised access.”
A boost to Llay is also hinted at: “The facility has the potential to benefit the local economy on Llay Industrial Estate and the village of Llay, with the presence of more staff that may opt to use the existing cafes and amenities in the locality.”
Unsurprisingly having a massive police station in Llay is expected to cut crime in the area: “The building type will by default add to the sense of security and safety on Llay Industrial Estate and should act as a deterrent to criminal activity in the immediate area.”
There will be 350 staff at the new station, working twenty four hours a a day. The staff are likely to have a nicer environment than the current police station, with an improved parking element: “Staff parking with 280 spaces is accessed from Davy Way with a new vehicle and pedestrian/cycle gated access” along with operational parking “Operational parking for 61 vehicles and cycle storage is provided at the rear of the building”.
The new facility finally moving forward could kick start the town centre rejig of several sites – which we outline and speculate on here, which are part of the currently non-public ‘masterplan’ of the town.