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Work on new Devon criminal justice hub continues at pace

Work to build a new criminal justice hub is well under way thanks to favourable weather.

Heavy machinery is now on site at Middlemoor in a phase of the £29m project which is expected to take around a month.

Excavators and lorries are involved in removing a large amount of topsoil, levelling an area to the south of existing buildings and digging foundations.

The new development will provide a custody suite with 40 police cells, a new and improved public front desk and modern and spacious office accommodation for up to 450 officers whose duties range from armed response to major crime investigation.

The project - largely funded by the sale of police land - is a major boost for the Exeter economy and will mean the sale and redevelopment of the current Heavitree Road Police Station and the setting up of a new community policing hub run at the Exeter Civic Centre in Paris Street.

During the current phase of work some dust, noise and vibration is inevitable as soil is removed from the site but efforts are being taken to keep this to a minimum. The police force estates office is working with local residents and has thanked them for their patience.

Several steps have been taken to reduce the impact of work on local people, police and police staff.

A water bowser is being used to damp down soil to reduce dust and a roller which has caused some minor vibration is only being used intermittently. A new access road has been built so construction vehicles cause minimal disruption to traffic accessing Middlemoor.

Assistant project manager Chris Brown said: “At the moment specialist contractors are using a method known as cut and fill to level the site, then foundations will be dug.

“A roller used in this process is causing some vibrations but the team are trying to minimise the effects of this by ensuring it is not in use all the time.

“Willmott Dixon is using local companies and staff wherever possible so that the benefits of this project are felt within the local community.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner owns force land and has funded and planned for the new station, which has been developed with help from senior officers, the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, and contractors Willmott Dixon. 

“This project was in the planning stages for a long time so it’s fantastic to see work progressing at such a rate,” Alison said.

“I’m delighted that my office and the force’s estates department have been able to join forces to deliver a truly exceptional project.

“It’s a major boost for Exeter and a major step in the right direction for the police. Because of the scale of the work some disruption is inevitable. I’d like to thank the public for their patience during the build and hope that they appreciate that we are delivering a county headquarters for Devon that’s fit for 21stCentury policing.”