Village votes no to G4S police station plan in Lincolnshire

Police headquarters in Nettleham The custody and deployment base would be built on undeveloped land at the police headquarters

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A parish council has voted to oppose proposals for security firm G4S to build a police station near Lincoln.

The custody and deployment base would be built as part of a ten-year contract between Lincolnshire Police and G4S.

It would be located next to the village of Nettleham, and the idea was debated at an extraordinary meeting of Nettleham Parish Council.

Police reassured villagers that most detainees would be transported to the bus or rail station after release.

But councillors and residents had further concerns, including increased traffic through and around Nettleham.

Councillor John Evans said: "I feel there is a lot of work the police authority will have to put in to get this through."

The base would be built on land at Lincolnshire Police headquarters, next to the village.

Analysis

The parish council meeting was, no doubt, a cathartic experience for those villagers wanting to vent their anger at this proposal, but it doesn't move the situation forward.

That's because the parish council will not get to make the final decision whether planning permission is granted, although it will be consulted.

But last night councillors complained that, so far, they have had to initiate discussions with Lincolnshire Police Authority.

That said, the authority will be at pains to win as many hearts and minds in the village as it can.

After all, the police has had its headquarters in Nettleham since the mid 1970s. Many village residents either do work or have worked at the HQ.

Dog walkers regularly stroll through the grounds.

Having lived side-by-side for so long, it would be counter-productive for both sides to see the relationship fracture now.

The planning application is due to be submitted before a police and crime commissioner (PCC) is elected in November, replacing Lincolnshire Police Authority.

'Very different times'

The parish council voted to request that further action is deferred until after then.

West Lindsey District Council will ultimately decide whether to grant or refuse planning permission.

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes said: "This is not a done deal, but further development on our headquarters site is a strong option."

He confirmed that Lincoln's main police station, in West Parade, would be sold as part of the proposals.

"We've got a tired old police station at Lincoln which needs replacement and we've also had almost 20% of our budget - in one of the leanest police forces in the country - slashed recently.

"Quite frankly we have to build a new police station. It has to be built somewhere."

The police authority previously described the G4S police station as a "custody suite".

However, Mr Rhodes said it would be "a new police station to serve the Lincoln and West Lindsey area."

Councillors and villagers said that before the police headquarters were built, they were promised it wouldn't be used for operational policing.

But Mr Rhodes said: "We are living in very, very different times."

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