Approval for the station, to be opened at the former Barum Auto Parts building at Seven Brethren in Barnstaple, was granted by North Devon Council’s planning committee.
The Seven Brethren site is owned by North Devon Council and will be an operational patrol base and custodial facility with desk space for up to 154 staff, allowing for short term growth. Some specialist staff will be relocated to an office at Roundswell as there was not quite enough space for policing functions to transfer from the old police station.
In total the project represents a £2m investment in the force estate.
A temporary police station was required after it was decided that repairing the existing station at North Walk, part of the Civic Centre, was not economically viable as its roof was deteriorating.
Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez, whose office owns the police estate, welcomed the decision.
She said: “The fact that our estates team has managed to get this project from the drawing board to planning approval in just a few weeks is testament to an incredible amount of work by them, the policing team in north Devon and partners. I’m particularly grateful to north Devon councillors and officers for bringing forward this vital project so swiftly, and to all those who helped with the search for new premises.
“This represents a vital step forward and part of a £2m investment to ensure that residents of north Devon have the policing resources that they require.”
The new solution is intended as a temporary measure for up to five years while a more permanent solution is explored.
North and West Devon Superintendent Toby Davies said: “This is excellent news – both for officers and staff based in North Devon and our communities, especially as it has been achieved in such short timescales. The base at Seven Brethren includes a public enquiry office which will mean that we can continue to have a strong and visible presence in the town and surrounding areas. We continue to work closely with the OPCC to look at viable options for a more permanent base.”
The temporary accommodation will house a custody facility which will be a self-contained unit within the site with a secure perimeter fence. The station will have parking for vehicles, interview, meeting rooms and briefing areas, staff rest areas, locker rooms, shower facilities and equipment storage areas. It will be operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with the public enquiry office located on the ground floor of the building.
The planning officer’s report recommended approval for the proposals stating that there was good pedestrian access to the centre and sufficient parking.