A COUNCIL leader has condemned the decision to scrap plans for a new northern police base in North Yorkshire.

Hambleton District Council leader, Councillor Mark Robson has accused North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan of “going back on promises” to keep the force within Hambleton.

He said the decision to scrap plans to build a new Northern base for the force at South Kilvington near Thirsk, coupled with the pending closure of the existing headquarters at Newby Wiske, would be damaging for employment and businesses within the district.

About £620,000 was spent on preparations to build the new base, but Mrs Mulligan estimates halting the plan will save up to £10m.

Some of the North Yorkshire’s operations and facilities will be moved to Cleveland Police’s proposed new headquarters at Hemlington in Middlesbrough.

There remains uncertainty about where the rest of the force will relocate to, with its current Grade II-listed building at Newby Wiske being identified as unfit for purpose.

“I am very concerned that the police commissioner has gone back on her word – she assured me that when the force move out of the current base at Newby Wiske, it would relocate its northern base in Hambleton,” said Cllr Robson.

“When the plans to build at South Kilvington were revealed I was happy that we would be keeping the force in our district. But this news not only has a knock on effect for employment in Hambleton but also for local shops and businesses which are used by the people working at Newby Wiske.

“Once staff are moved to Cleveland they are not going to travel back to Hambleton to do their weekly grocery shop or go to the bank or newsagents.

“Hambleton has already been struck by the closure of the prison and the Rural Payments Agency in Northallerton – this move could lead to even more job losses for the district.”

Mrs Mulligan was unavailable for comment.