Police station flats to attract 'high-fliers'
PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 June 2015
INSPIRATION from Dubai's luxury hotels could provide part of an 'iconic' redesign for Weston's old police station.
North Somerset Council’s executive committee has agreed its officers should progress with the purchase of the police building and former magistrates’ court in Walliscote Road.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary plans to move to Weston Gateway Business Park near the M5 next year.
It has negotiated a deal with the council for the ‘direct disposal’ of the station, although the price has not been disclosed.
Council leader Nigel Ashton said the deal is part of the authority’s plans for regenerating Weston’s town centre and that he has been looking to Dubai hotels for inspiration.
He said: “The intention is to have something we don’t already have, which is iconic and different.
“There is no reason why we can’t set our sights quite high.”
The Mercury reported last week how it is ‘extremely likely’ the police station will be pulled down due to structural defects, while Cllr Liz Wells said there was asbestos in the building.
Chief executive Mike Jackson said he is optimistic the council can win Homes and Communities Agency funding to buy the buildings.
Labour leader Richard Tucker said: “I think whether we go ahead with this is dependent on whether we get grant funding.
“We cannot afford to re-open a seafront pool which is a regeneration site we already own.
“To use public money to acquire the site for luxury private flats will probably not sit well with people.
“I am not against regeneration in itself but it comes down to getting funding for this.
“To dip into our reserves will give people a lot of doubts.”
Deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees said the electrification of rail lines at the nearby train station would make the flats appealing to people commuting to Bristol for work.
He said: “There are a lot of high-profile jobs and employment in Bristol where at the moment if people want to live in Weston, they have great problems to commute.
“Here I see the opportunity to attract some real high-fliers to live in Weston and spend their money in Weston, and work either in Weston or further afield.”
Councillor Davis Pasley said: “Our objective is to inject new life into that part of Weston town centre.
“The site will be iconic and exciting two to three bedroom high-quality apartments only minutes from the station, the beach, and with the town centre only steps away.
“I am sure there will be many people who may not have considered living in the town before who will be excited by living there.”