PROGESS must be made on disposing of the former police HQ on Cannock Road in Stafford if millions of pounds of public money is to be returned to frontline policing Staffordshire’s police tsar has said.
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis told the Newsletter he was ‘very close’ to appointing agents who would assist in finally disposing of the site and help free up funds to put back into policing.
“What I’m concerned with is the amount of money that has been wasted over the last few years at an empty site,” said Mr Ellis. “It will save a large amount of money in business rates, capital costs and security if we can dispose of the site.”
Mr Ellis said demolishing the building had ‘massively reduced’ the rates and the security costs.
He said the annual costs of maintaining the site was £360,000 in business rates, £400,000 in capital costs and £150,000 in security, estimating the site had cost taxpayers around £3.5million since it had been vacated.
“Over the four years it has been empty it has cost a large amount of public money,” said Mr Ellis.
“I haven’t been able to make sense of the original business case for moving but I am sure the Police Authority hadn’t intended for it to remain empty for the last three years of its existence.
“We need to get this done to get more money back into policing.”
Mr Ellis said he would be asking the agents – who he was not able to name for legal reasons – to do some work on the original proposal submitted by the Police Authority.
“I think the original proposals were put together in a time that was possibly very different,” he said. “
He said issues around planning permission surrounding the phone masts currently located on the site were in the hands of the planning committee at Stafford Borough Council.
Mr Ellis added he hoped the disposal of the site was ‘done and dusted’ by September of this year.