New joint fire and police headquarters gets green light from council planners

A new joint fire and police headquarters for Nottinghamshire was given the go-ahead by planners in Gedling on 4 December 2019.

Gedling Borough Council’s planning committee has agreed to Nottinghamshire Police’s current Sherwood Lodge base being transformed with a new building to include Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service on the same site. They will leave their current headquarters at Bestwood Lodge Drive in Arnold once the building work is completed.

It is hoped sharing headquarters will increase efficiency and allow the two organisations to work together better when dealing with major incidents. The cost of the total project is forecast to be around £18.5m.

The plans for the new headquarters include a new single police control room in one location to replace the current split between Sherwood Lodge and the Northern Control Centre and Mansfield police station.

The new building would form the fourth side of a quadrangle on the Sherwood site, where a prefab building is currently located. This is expected to be removed in the coming weeks to make way for the creation of the building site.

The new building will also include a dedicated training centre, joint office space, pharmacy, a gym and a multi-purpose hall and canteen. Existing offices will be refurbished as part of the agreed plans.

Gedling Borough Council’s planning committee agreed to the proposal, so long as a number of conditions are adhered to, which include: the building being completed within three years; a new access road being put in place; and plans to protect local wildlife and the environment.

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said, “This decision is positive news for both organisations as we can now move forward with this development that will deliver modern, more efficient headquarters on a shared location for these two emergency services.

“It makes practical and operational sense and I’m confident that it will help to improve our blue light services and increase our impact on public safety in the future.”

Nottinghamshire Chief Constable Craig Guildford added, “Sherwood Lodge is an excellent geographic location in terms of both services being able to respond to incidents across the county; ensuring that we can get specialist resources where they are needed to protect the public whilst also saving the public purse.

“A shared facility with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service will enable effective joint response to major incidents and it will also enhance our ability to work together, providing flexible facilities that will serve the emergency services for many years to come.

Nottinghamshire’s Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, John Buckley, said, “We are looking forward in relocating our headquarters with the police at the Sherwood Lodge site to become a joint police and fire headquarters. The design has considered the needs of both organisations as well as environmental and local transport concerns.

“The joint headquarters is the biggest collaborative project between police and fire in the county and will not only provide cashable savings that can be re-invested into the front line of both organisations, but will also serve to bring our operational staff closer together to protect the people of Nottinghamshire.

“The headquarters project is a strong demonstration of the commitment to collaborate and actively work closely with our police colleagues in Nottinghamshire. The move will bring positives to both organisations as we continue to serve communities across the county.”

The police force headquarters lies within Nottinghamshire’s greenbelt and is adjacent to a country park. As a consequence plans were prepared that were sympathetic to the location ensuring that they met the very special circumstances.

Committee members agreed the proposal would provide significant benefits to the operation of the emergency services, which in turn will provide significant benefits to the wider community in terms of improved public safety and operational efficiency.

One of the planning conditions is that bat and bird boxes will be installed at appropriate locations within the site. Electric vehicles charging points will also be installed on site.

It is anticipated the building should be completed towards the end of 2021.