'No immediate plans to move police HQ' despite potential for housing
Suffolk's crime commissioner has declared no immediate plan to move police headquarters, despite the site being earmarked for housing.
The Martlesham Heath site is among more than 1,000 listed for potential development under the ‘issues and options’ for Suffolk Coastal District Council’s (SCDC) Local Plan review.
The document includes land submitted for potentially as few as one, or as many as 4,000 homes, in response to a ‘call for sites’ to help meet growth requirements over the next 20 years.
Police HQ, which has been listed as number ‘999’ on the list and could make way for 347 homes on a 10.7 hectare site, opened beside the A12 in 1976, following the creation of Suffolk Constabulary in its current form – combining forces that served West Suffolk, East Suffolk and the County Borough of Ipswich.
Tim Passmore, Suffolk police and crime commissioner, said: “Suffolk’s police headquarters site has been included in SCDC’s Local Plan review, which highlights a number of potential sites for residential development to help meet the growth requirements in the district.
“The aptly named site ‘999’ has been highlighted for potential future housing use, but I must stress there are no plans to move from the site in the immediate future.
“The longer term decision-making over the options for police headquarters will be made as soon as possible, and within the future context of the Suffolk 2025 and our Estates Strategy review.
“I wish to reassure Suffolk residents that this planning consultation document does not impact on operational policing.”
In 2012, police moved some services to Landmark House, Whitehouse, including most officers and civilian staff from the former Ipswich station.
In 2015, Mr Passmore mooted the idea of relocating police HQ – at the time said to cost around £1million a year to run – but the decision was made not to sell as part of the drive to save £20m.
The indicative number of homes for the site is based on 30 dwellings per hectare.
SCDC’s new Local Plan will guide development to 2036.
The strategy for the scale and distribution of growth across the district is still to be decided.
Issues and options consultation ended on October 30. A draft plan will be prepared for further consultation in late spring 2018.