THE Mayor of Thirsk and a senior county councillor have condemned the design of North Yorkshire Police’s proposed headquarters, saying it would be more suited to an American city than a village with a population of 220.
In a joint letter to police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan, which was given to residents who expressed concern over the plans, South Kilvington councillors Janet Watson and Gareth Dadd, pledged to battle the scheme unless major changes were made to the blueprint.
The councillors said they had been dismayed by the absence of detailed information available at a public exhibition held in the village last week, about why an 8.4-acre field in South Kilvington had been selected for the scheme or how locating a custody suite there would save the force money.
They said while uncertainty remained over arrangements for the release of detainees and over the village’s long-standing traffic issues, parents of pupils at South Kilvington Primary School opposite the proposed site would continue to consider moving their children elsewhere.
The letter states: “This sorry episode has left more questions and concerns than it addressed, and whilst we understand the details are being developed, there is now a feeling within the community that North Yorkshire Police are themselves unsure of emerging detail.
“On the building design or sketch we both feel this is something that is totally out of keeping with the local environment.
“Put bluntly, it appears to be a building belonging in an urban city like Seattle not South Kilvington, and as such will generate our serious opposition as it stands.”
The councillors said the exhibition had served to ignite further opposition due to the lack of specific information.
Mrs Mulligan, who pledged to oversee “a new era of openness and transparency” before being elected in November 2012, said while South Kilvington was the preferred site for the headquarters and police station, it was not “a done deal”.
She said she was planning a public meeting at which residents will be able to put their views to both herself and chief constable Dave Jones.
Mrs Mulligan said: “We are still very much at an early stage in developing our plans and as such I do not yet have all the answers.
“There is therefore real value in speaking to local people so early on in the process.”