It has been announced that contracts have been exchanged to sell Bath’s Police Station to the University of Bath and some adjoining land to the Council.
Custody has already moved to the new Police Centre at Keynsham and further changes will result in a new enquiry office co-located with Bath & North East Somerset Council on Manvers Street, and a new base for our response and neighbourhood teams positioned on the outskirts of Bath City Centre.
The sale is expected to be finalised at the end of October but our enquiry office will remain in the police station for the short term.
Chief Superintendent Caroline Peters, the new Area Commander, said: “We understand the importance and are very committed to keeping a police presence in Bath.
“Co-locating our enquiry office, and hopefully the city centre team, with the council will bring police and council services together in one place, making it easier for the public.
“Discussions for a new base for our neighbourhood and response teams are progressing but we have a great deal of work to do to finalise future arrangements. “
“I’m thrilled to be taking up the new position of Area Commander for the north east area. One of my priorities will be to ensure that all our communities receive the best possible service from our police officers and staff.
“Even during a time of transition, policing across the area will continue as usual and our communities should have every confidence that we’ll continue to do all we can to keep them safe.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mounstevens said: “As custody is moving from Bath Police Station, it no longer makes sense to keep a station whose site is very valuable and only partly used. We are delighted to sell the station and land to the University of Bath and Bath & North East Somerset Council.
“As with every police station sale we are always looking to get the best deal for local taxpayers. I have been clear that our estate plan is about allowing us to invest in people rather than continuing with under-utilised and over-sized police buildings.”
Sue Mountstevens added: “We are committed to working with Bath & North East Somerset Council and remain firmly committed to the city. Through new initiatives like the co-location with the council the police will be even closer to local people in the city centre.”
Timings for the moves have not yet confirmed but we are hoping to move the enquiry office to Lewis House by the end of the year. The other moves are likely to take longer, up to 15 months.
Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to locate more of the University’s activities in the city and to make an important contribution to the continued regeneration of the area around Manvers Street.
“Our presence in the centre of Bath already includes the highly successful Innovation Centre at Carpenter House and several students’ residences. We expect to begin using the building in the coming months to provide a base from which we can further strengthen our partnerships within the community of Bath.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council owns the adjoining Manvers Street car park, and was pleased to come to a joint arrangement with the Police and University, to consolidate its property holdings by acquisition of associated land and access rights.
Councillor Paul Crossley, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Having an increased presence for the University in the City is a key building block of delivering the Enterprise Area.
“Evidence shows they are critical to innovation, skills development and attracting new businesses into an area as well as supporting new start-up companies.”
City Centre Councillor, Manda Rigby (Liberal Democrat, Abbey ward) commented:
“With the announcement recently that this site would be sold by the police, I welcome the news that the University of Bath will take over the Manvers Street police station.
“I look forward to hearing more about the University’s plans for the site. I feel it is important that large city centre sites such as this are used for employment, not residential, purposes.
“The presence of the University of Bath in the city centre will help attract businesses to Bath and deliver the benefits of the Enterprise Area. I am delighted that because of the LibDem council’s efforts, the very best alternative use for this site has been secured.”
Local resident and Liberal Democrat campaigner Jay Risbridger added: “I particularly welcome the clear statement from the police that they are committed to Bath and to maintaining a police presence in Bath.
“I believe that the presence of a police inquiry desk at the One Stop Shop will benefit local residents who will be able to access a range of public services in one place.”
“This partnership on Manvers Street also enables our Enterprise Area masterplan ambitions for that area to be delivered in the medium term, with a focus on employment, thereby protecting the sites to offer future benefits.”
The police station and land is being sold for £7 million.