A reprieve is under consideration for Uckfield police station, it was revealed last night (May 3).
Nearly three years ago, Sussex Police announced the proposed closure of the New Town building with an intention to open at least a police “front counter” in the town centre.
Now, according to Cllr James Anderson, Trust Independent, North Ward, the police are considering turning the existing building into a base for response units and a hub for the area.
He said he had received the information from the police earlier in the day.
Cllr Anderson told the town council’s general purposes committee:
“Speaking to Sussex Police today, as far as I am aware, they are considering keeping Uckfield police station and turning it into a response unit and a hub.
“It could be we need to go back to them and clarify what they are actually looking at.
“The latest is that they are going to keep it, bring it up to modern standards and use it as a hub, rather than use the likes of Hailsham or Eastbourne because we are more central.”
Cllr Anderson added that if Sussex Police continued to look for other premises, Uckfield Civic Centre “would be a great place”.
Concerns over the amount of parking required
He said the police were looking for a considerable number of parking spaces for some of the options, which caused him concern.
New town clerk, Holly Goring, introduced the debate and said the council had been approached by Sussex Police who were considering various options to find alternative premises in the town.
“They wish to retain a presence in the town,” she said.
The options ranged from a small set-up of a front counter with a small back office to a much larger facility with office space for around 30 work stations. Details of the options are given in a full towards the end of this article.
During the debate, there was general agreement among the committee that the council should continue to work with the police to find whether suitable space could be found on the ground floor of the Civic Centre.
The feeling was that it could be difficult to accommodate anything larger than a front counter, which would be open to the public, and a small “back office”.
However, councillors accepted giving the police a home would provide additional income.
The town clerk’s report to the general purposes committee stated:
Front counter open 10 until 2
“It must be stressed that these options are currently being considered by Sussex Police in light of the additional information that they are working to.” The proposals would include:
- The front counter is open to the public from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday;
- The front counter must remain within Uckfield Town Centre area, whereas police teams could be located within a reasonable distance of the town centre;
- For each option, Sussex Police are more than happy to share front counter/reception facilities;
- They would provide their own IT server/wiring, wi-fi and telephony;
- Each option would require 24/7 access (although for option (i) 24/7 access would only be required to the back office);
- A blue light and yellow phone would be located on an external wall, close to the front counter area to allow public contact out of hours;
- They are looking to lease space, preferably space shared with partner agencies to allow for shared revenue costs and improved partnership working.
The town clerk’s report said sharing the Civic Centre with the police would demonstrate the council’s support of community safety in the town, would bring in “much needed” income in these “pressing financial times” and appropriate space could be made available on the ground floor.
Parking, access and security would need to be considered in more detail with Sussex Police.
Details of the police requirements were given as
• Elections for the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner are held on Thursday. Candidates are listed towards the end of the comment piece.
Members of the general purposes committee attending the meeting were:
Chair: Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood
Vice-chair: Cllr Paul Meakin, Liberal Democrat, Central
Cllr James Anderson, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Jacqueline Beckford, Liberal Democrat, Ridgewood
Cllr Keith Everett, Independent, Ridgewood
Cllr Paul Sparks, Liberal Democrat, North
Cllr Diane Ward, Trust Independent, Central
Apologies for absence were received from
Cllr Helen Firth, Conservative, Central
Cllr Louise Eastwood, Trust Independent, North
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