AN open day at the new out-of-town Harrogate police station has proved a big hit with members of the public.
Shortly after the station opened its doors to the public at 2pm on Wednesday (May 9) despite the rain, a large queue formed leading all the way down to Beckwith Head Road – where the station is based, just off Otley Road. The open day ran until 7pm.
A member of the public who queued up to see inside the building was Sarah Pyman.
She said: “I came to have a look because I work nearby and I was curious. The building is impressive but I can’t believe so many people want to see a police station. It’s like a tourist attraction.”
North Yorkshire Police chief constable Graham Maxwell and North Yorkshire Police Authority chairman Jane Kenyon were on hand to welcome visitors, who were not allowed free rein but given a guided tour.
The new facility cost £18m and will become fully operational 24-hours-a-day on Thursday, May 17. The front counter will be open to the public from 8am to midnight.
Mr Maxwell said: “Police officers and staff need the right tools for the job and a fitting environment.
“The new facility will provide these essential basics for many years into the future, contributing to a first-class policing service for Harrogate communities.”
Ms Kenyon said: “This open day is the pinnacle of the careful and prudent financial planning undertaken over a number of years by the North Yorkshire Police Authority and force to invest significantly in the policing of Harrogate and the wider communities.
“This new state-of-the-art station will provide a fantastic base for officers and improve the working conditions of many staff.”
The old police station on North Park Road will be decommissioned in the coming weeks.
Harrogate Borough Council hopes to buy the old police station and develop it for its new headquarters. The council plans to sell its Crescent Gardens offices. If this happens it is thought that will become a hotel.
During the construction of the new police station, 50 per cent of all contractors employed by the construction company, GB Building Solutions, were from Harrogate or the surrounding area.
The building includes a 16-cell custody block built to Home Office standards.