RESIDENTS in a small village have voiced their fury at a proposal to relocate a police force’s headquarters to a field overlooked by their homes.
Householders in South Kilvington, near Thirsk, said North Yorkshire Police’s bid to save £455,000 by building a modern base for its 550 staff between the A61 and A19, alongside a custody suite and operational facilities, would ruin their way of life.
The force says relocating from its existing base in Newby Wiske, near Northallerton, to the site at the centre of the county's road network would improve its capability and efficiency.
At a public meeting at St Wilfrid’s Church, in the village which has a population of 220, residents vowed to battle against the scheme, saying it would dominate the village, overwhelm its problematic 1950s sewage system and could lead to the closure of South Kilvington Primary School.
Householders said the field beside the Cod Beck had flooding issues and building on it would create flooding problems downstream, in Thirsk and that the force would need to erect tall communications masts at the site.
Resident John Nelson said: “This proposal is totally outrageous as there are plenty of other sites that are just as good within 100 yards of the A19 dual carriageway.”
Barry Hitchen, who chaired the meeting, said the site was inappropriate for an industrial-scale development and that everything in the proposal contradicted the Hambleton District Council plan.
His daughter, Rebecca, said: “A village is supposed to be a quiet place with a shop or maybe a pub, that’s why we are living here.
“With all the blue flashing lights going through the village, it will be like living in Brixton rather than South Kilvington.”
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said she was committed to conducting a full and open public consultation, to reflect the views of residents in the base’s design.
She said: “These are still very early days. We have agreed to place a deposit on the site and then purchase it only if planning permission is granted at a later date.”
She said the Environmental Agency has stated there is a less than 0.1 per cent chance of flooding in any year on the site from the Cod Beck.
Mrs Mulligan said an initial drop-in session for residents would be held in mid-February.
She said: “With a project of this size, there is the scope to create amenities that benefit the local community, such as new or improved open spaces, and we are keen to generate ideas from local people.”