A £150,000 study has been launched to consider closing North Yorkshire Police’s headquarters and a police station and replacing them with a new northern base in the Thirsk and Northallerton area.
Julia Mulligan said an initial review had found the force could make long-term savings and improve officers’ work by creating a modern, purpose-built building in an area with good access to the road network.
She has commissioned consultants to provide an analysis of the future needs of the organisation before the end of July.
The study will examine the commercial, financial and economic implications and feasibility of the proposals to move from the HQ at Newby Wiske, near Northallerton and Northallerton Police Station and custody suite.
Mrs Mulligan said: “Newby Wiske will be costing North Yorkshire taxpayers over £1m per year to maintain over the next 17 years.
“There are also frequent problems with the power supply and accessibility, not to mention other issues that come with maintaining a Grade II listed building.
“These proposals are about improving the service we can offer the public of North Yorkshire, prioritising bobbies over buildings.”
The review found the Newby Wiske Hall site was “far from ideal” despite work to improve it and that the security of the site is difficult to manage due to the size, location and cost of securing the site boundary.
It described the 18th century police station and northern custody suite in Northallerton as “not fit for purpose” and said it does not provide the standard and type of facilities the force needs.
It states: “We can expect the size of the custody suite [at a new base] to treble in order to achieve Home Office standards.”
The proposal to close Newby Wiske, which was one of Mrs Mulligan’s key election pledges, has already sparked controversy, with Thornton le Moor and Thornton le Street Parish Council describing it as “illogical”.
The review states the northern base could be located in Thirsk as it benefits from easy access to the A1 via the A168.
It states: “Thirsk is a key location within the county. It sits at the centre of the county and at a place where there is ready access to all of the major road networks that serve the county.”
At a meeting of Thirsk Town Council on Monday, Councillor Freda Roberts said the industrial estate alongside the 925-home Sowerby Gateway development could be an ideal location for the northern base.