Hampshire police's £9.2m 'white elephant' could be sold off

Daily Echo: The current home of Hampshire Constabulary in Romsey Road, Winchester The current home of Hampshire Constabulary in Romsey Road, Winchester

THE £9.2m ‘white elephant’ building proposed for a new police headquarters in Hampshire could be on the verge of being sold off.

Alpha Park in Chandler’s Ford was controversially bought five years ago – at £3m more than it was valued - and was set to become home to more than 200 staff.

But the site has sat empty ever since while police authority bosses reconsidered what to do with it and whether part of the building should in fact be sold off.

Fresh plans were recently unveiled to once again use the entire site and transform it into a police campus housing a vehicle workshop, force enquiry centre and IT department.

Meanwhile Hampshire taxpayers have picked up a bill of almost £650,000 to cover security patrols, business rates and repairs costs even though nobody has ever worked there.

Now Hampshire’s new police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes has ordered a major review saying he is “concerned” about why it was bought in the first place.

Mr Hayes, who took up office last November when police authorities were abolished, said the force’s estate development programme, which has cost £83m, was now a priority.

He said: “It seemed to me, a review was particularly necessary in light of a changing policing requirement, and the responsibility I have to work in partnership with other organisations across the two counties to cut crime, reduce re-offending and support victims and witnesses.

“On first examination, I understand the rationale around the need to improve custody arrangements and the proposals to maintain safer neighbourhood teams in local communities.

“However, I remain concerned about the decision to purchase Alpha Park and I am questioning whether the building remains an integral part of the operational policing requirement.”

Mr Hayes said he was not yet made a final decision on the future of the building but he has now drafted in an independent advisor, Oona Muirhead, who will work with him to develop an estates strategy suitable for the future.

He added: “It is vital that we have the right estate from which to conduct our business and keep the public free from harm. It is expensive to create and operate, so the strategy must be right for the future.”

Comments (9)

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5:02pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Pikey Pete says...

You Dont think. That in the past people might have been taking back handers?

No not the police. They wouldn't do that that..Would they..?

Why buy Alpha park in the first place..3 million quid...!!!

Ummm
You Dont think. That in the past people might have been taking back handers? No not the police. They wouldn't do that that..Would they..? Why buy Alpha park in the first place..3 million quid...!!! Ummm Pikey Pete
  • Score: 0

9:43pm Tue 29 Jan 13

J.P.M says...

**** Pete wrote:
You Dont think. That in the past people might have been taking back handers?

No not the police. They wouldn't do that that..Would they..?

Why buy Alpha park in the first place..3 million quid...!!!

Ummm
Pete - you know too much.

Too many people succumb to the twisty thumb handshake, thinking it can make them rich, and protect them from prosecution >>>>>>>>>>
[quote][p][bold]**** Pete[/bold] wrote: You Dont think. That in the past people might have been taking back handers? No not the police. They wouldn't do that that..Would they..? Why buy Alpha park in the first place..3 million quid...!!! Ummm[/p][/quote]Pete - you know too much. Too many people succumb to the twisty thumb handshake, thinking it can make them rich, and protect them from prosecution >>>>>>>>>> J.P.M
  • Score: 0

10:28pm Tue 29 Jan 13

ameliaS says...

HAS SAT EMPTY, Ms. Makin?
HAS SAT EMPTY, Ms. Makin? ameliaS
  • Score: 0

11:03pm Tue 29 Jan 13

bazzeroz says...

And the waste goes on but, hey! we're all in this together!
And the waste goes on but, hey! we're all in this together! bazzeroz
  • Score: 0

1:04am Wed 30 Jan 13

IronLady2010 says...

Glad to see the new Commissioner making his mark. He has a long way to go, but at least he's asking the questions and can make some long overdue changes.
Glad to see the new Commissioner making his mark. He has a long way to go, but at least he's asking the questions and can make some long overdue changes. IronLady2010
  • Score: 0

9:41am Wed 30 Jan 13

sotonboy84 says...

**** Pete wrote:
You Dont think. That in the past people might have been taking back handers? No not the police. They wouldn't do that that..Would they..? Why buy Alpha park in the first place..3 million quid...!!! Ummm
3 million quid MORE than it was valued!!
[quote][p][bold]**** Pete[/bold] wrote: You Dont think. That in the past people might have been taking back handers? No not the police. They wouldn't do that that..Would they..? Why buy Alpha park in the first place..3 million quid...!!! Ummm[/p][/quote]3 million quid MORE than it was valued!! sotonboy84
  • Score: 0

9:52am Wed 30 Jan 13

Linesman says...

Who bought this White Elephant?

Tory-controlled Hampshire County Council?

Who gave the go-ahead for Southampton's new White Elephant?

A Tory-controlled Southampton City Council.

Coincidence?

With Tory planning expertise, they probably wanted a breeding pair, and find they have a couple of males!
Who bought this White Elephant? Tory-controlled Hampshire County Council? Who gave the go-ahead for Southampton's new White Elephant? A Tory-controlled Southampton City Council. Coincidence? With Tory planning expertise, they probably wanted a breeding pair, and find they have a couple of males! Linesman
  • Score: 0

10:47am Wed 30 Jan 13

Subject48 says...

If anyone expects accountability, you will be sorely dissapointed. Its high level money politics. No one is going to recieve any for of punishment for this obvious scam at the tax payers expense.
If anyone expects accountability, you will be sorely dissapointed. Its high level money politics. No one is going to recieve any for of punishment for this obvious scam at the tax payers expense. Subject48
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Sure says...

Linesman wrote:
Who bought this White Elephant?

Tory-controlled Hampshire County Council?

Who gave the go-ahead for Southampton's new White Elephant?

A Tory-controlled Southampton City Council.

Coincidence?

With Tory planning expertise, they probably wanted a breeding pair, and find they have a couple of males!
Where is the Southampton white elephant? If you mean the new police station then that is being used at full capacity so not really a white elephant.

To be fair if I remember rightly this building was purchased before the austerity measures were introduced all over the country in all areas, not just policing. I'm sure the Chief Constable would have been slated for continuing to move into a new HQ when cuts were being made elsewhere. He would also have been criticised for not improving the HQ building if there had been no austerity cuts.

It's easy to judge with hindsight.
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: Who bought this White Elephant? Tory-controlled Hampshire County Council? Who gave the go-ahead for Southampton's new White Elephant? A Tory-controlled Southampton City Council. Coincidence? With Tory planning expertise, they probably wanted a breeding pair, and find they have a couple of males![/p][/quote]Where is the Southampton white elephant? If you mean the new police station then that is being used at full capacity so not really a white elephant. To be fair if I remember rightly this building was purchased before the austerity measures were introduced all over the country in all areas, not just policing. I'm sure the Chief Constable would have been slated for continuing to move into a new HQ when cuts were being made elsewhere. He would also have been criticised for not improving the HQ building if there had been no austerity cuts. It's easy to judge with hindsight. Sure
  • Score: 0

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