Police site may become housing

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A POLICE support site in Harrogate could be redeveloped for housing when the organisation folds at the end of this year.

Rossett ward councillors hope redeveloping the land currently occupied by the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA), on Yew Tree Lane, would mean building fewer houses on the special landscape area beyond Cardale Park.

Meanwhile the NPIA has said it will do “everything possible to minimise redundancies” in its workforce of 176, but could make no guarantees.

Coun Michelle Woolley said: “It’s very good news that redundancies will be kept to a minimum and that a part of the site may be considered for housing, relieving some of the pressure to build on the Special Landscape Area beyond Cardale Park. “

Along with Coun Jim Clark, she met with the head of the the centre, Ciaran McGuigan, to discuss the future of the NPIA, which is being phased out.

Many of the functions currently based at the site are expected to transfer to new organisations, including the National Crime Agency, a police professional body and an IT company.

But the budget currently spent at the NPIA needs to be cut by half, so the Harrogate HQ is closing and the owners are looking at disposing of the site.

Coun Clark said: “Local residents will be sorry to see the NPIA leave as they have been very good neighbours.

“Residents must be consulted on how the site will be used next.”

Although no definite decisions have been made about the site’s future, the NPIA has applied to Harrogate Borough Council for a change of use, meaning that this ‘brownfield’ site could be redeveloped for housing.

Formerly Pannal Ash College, the NPIA premises were bought by West Riding County Council in 1945 for use as a training college for police recruits.

Staff at NPIA Harrogate are responsible for national police recruitment, examinations and promotion processes, design of national learning and development programmes, training programmes, accreditation and quality assurance services, a forensic programme and IT support.