A design team has been appointed and the demolition of one of the vacant buildings completed at the site where a new Surrey Police headquarters and operational base will be built.
The move marks the start of the next phase of the project to replace a number of existing sites, including the current HQ in Guildford, with a state of the art facility in Leatherhead.
The former Electrical Research Association (ERA) and Cobham Industries site on Cleeve Road in the town was bought last year for £20.5m following a detailed search to identify a location in a more central area of Surrey.
Since then work has been underway to satisfy all legal requirements and ready the 10-acre site for the first stage of development. A Programme Director and project team have been successfully recruited and the external consultant design team is now in place to help develop and finalise detailed plans for the new base.
The multi-disciplinary design team will be led by architects Scott Brownrigg, with Project Managers MACE & Quantity Surveyors, Ryder Levett Bucknall also supporting the project, all of which were appointed following a detailed tender process over recent months.
The Leatherhead base will become an operational hub housing specialist teams as well as chief officers and senior leadership team, support, corporate functions and training facilities. It will replace the existing Mount Browne HQ and Woking Police Station in addition to replacing Reigate Police Station as the main Eastern divisional base. Neighbourhood Policing Teams will continue to operate from all eleven boroughs including Woking and Reigate.
Further sites at Burpham and Godstone where the Roads Policing Team and Tactical Firearms Unit are based will also be moved to the new location.
The sale of those five sites will fund a significant proportion of the cost of buying and developing the new Leatherhead base and the Force hopes the new building will be fully operational in around four to five years’ time.
The move is part of an extensive estates project to deliver long-term savings by moving out, and disposing of, some of the current outdated and costly buildings.
In their place, an efficient estate will be created that will allow the Force to work in new ways and meet the challenges of modern policing. The new site will also benefit from being a more central location in the county in close proximity to the M25 and the town’s railway station.
The new HQ will also provide a central Surrey hub for Roads Policing and Tactical Firearms teams. Guildford and Staines police stations will be retained, accommodating Western and Northern divisional teams.
The Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro and Chief Constable Gavin Stephens visited the site back in March before the Covid-19 lockdown to see the demolition work begin.
The PCC said: “The plans for our new headquarters site have been gathering pace in recent months and we have reached an exciting milestone in the project.
“We want to build a new base that is fit for a modern police force and felt Scott Brownrigg provided a really exciting vision of what that could look like.
“I was delighted to see first-hand the progress that is being made when I visited the site back in March and since then it has been full steam ahead despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I believe this project will not only provide Surrey Police with a much better working environment for our officers and staff but will also hopefully give a welcome boost to the local economy.
“Since we purchased the site last year there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get to this point and we still have a long road ahead.
“However the project team is now complete and we can look forward to putting those detailed plans in place that will help shape the future of policing in this county.”
Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “It’s great to see such tangible progress in our plan to build a state of the art headquarters and operational base.
“Moving to the centre of the county makes good sense for us, as does selling some of our outdated and costly buildings and replacing them with a purpose-built, efficient estate.
“The move will not alter our local policing presence at all; we are committed to making sure our officers are there whenever they are needed. I especially want to reassure residents of Woking and Reigate, where we will be closing sites, that neighbourhood policing teams will still have bases in both areas.
“The new HQ and eastern base will be a high quality, flexible and sustainable building that fulfils our aspiration to become part of the local community and allows us to meet the challenges of providing an outstanding policing service for the people of Surrey.”
Erika Gemmell, Scott Brownrigg Director said: “Scott Brownrigg are delighted to be helping Surrey Police create their new Operational HQ. Focusing on sustainability and collaboration, this new facility will be a home for the invaluable work the Force undertakes across the county. Within a setting that promotes diversity and inclusion, it will offer a new highly efficient and agile working environment.”