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Surrey Police Headquarters to Remain in Guildford

Published on: 24 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 24 Nov, 2021

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Surrey Police will stay in its Guildford headquarters following an independent review.

The force will sell off the former Electrical Research Association and Cobham Industries site in Leatherhead which was bought in March 2019 to be developed as a replacement for several police sites, including the Mount Browne headquarters in Guildford.

Other options included looking for alternative sites in Surrey or redeveloping the current site to make it more suitable for the needs of the force.

The suitability of the site at Leatherhead had previously been questioned because its location in a residential area meant the anonymity of under-cover officers might be compromised and it would not be suitable for keeping dogs because of the noise they make.

In June this year, plans for the Leatherhead site were put on hold while an independent review was carried out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting. It looked specifically at the financial implications of the project.

Work on the site will be carried out in phases and will include a new joint contact centre and force control room, a better location on the site for the Surrey Police Dog School, a new forensic hub and improved facilities for training and accommodation.

PCC Lisa Townsend

Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend said the new headquarters was probably the biggest single investment the force would ever make and it was “vital” to get it right.

She said the most important factor for her was providing value for money and an even better police service for residents.

She said: “Our officers and staff deserve the very best support and working environment we can provide for them and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make sure we are making a sound investment for their future.”

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens

Chief Constable Stephens said: “Although Leatherhead offered us a new alternative to our headquarters, both in design and location, it had become clear that it was becoming increasingly harder to achieve our long-term dreams and ambitions.

“The pandemic has presented new opportunities to re-think how we can use our Mount Browne site and retain an estate that has been a part of Surrey Police’s history for more than 70 years.

“This announcement is an exciting opportunity for us to shape and design the look and feel of the Force for future generations.”

Cllr Joss Bigmore

And the decision was welcomed by the leader of GBC Joss Bigmore. He said: “I am very pleased to hear that Surrey Police’s HQ will remain in Guildford. I know the decision has been carefully considered and the borough council looks forward to working with Surrey Police to deliver their ambitions for the site.

“Guildford is the county town of Surrey and the natural home of Surrey Police’s headquarters. This decision is yet more evidence that our bid for city status is well-founded.”

Mrs Townsend said she understood why the decision was taken in 2019 to relocate to Leatherhead but that the pandemic had shifted working patterns significantly.

Mount Browne Headquarters in Artington, Guildford.

She said she believed that staying at Mount Browne was the right option both for the force and for the public, and she also agreed with Chief Constable Gavin Stephens that making no changes was not an option for the force.

She added: “This is an exciting time for Surrey Police and my office will be working closely with the force and the project team going forward to make sure we deliver a new headquarters we can all be proud of.”

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Responses to Surrey Police Headquarters to Remain in Guildford

  1. Keith Francis Reply

    November 24, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    Keeping the Surrey Police HQ at Mount Browne is nothing to be proud of as the house is ancient and when did they last check the EPC [Energy Performance Certificate] of the building?

    Traffic-locked Leatherhead was a totally inappropriate choice when there is another under-used Surrey site that could have been adapted for police purposes.

    Looking at the figures, we have one support member of staff for each warranted officer. Do they wonder why the public keeps asking, as in the recent survey, for more proper officers on our streets?

    Does this give us any confidence?

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    November 25, 2021 at 12:03 am

    A sensible decision at long last.

  3. Barry Williams Reply

    November 25, 2021 at 10:33 am

    A thought: if the police vehicle and emergency services maintenance site and stores on the A281 Horsham Road near Gosden House School could also be relocated to Mount Browne it could open up the possibility of using that A 281 site for a new southern Park and Ride facility between Shalford and Bramley that could help reduce Guildford town centre traffic, even better if it also linked to the railway station.

  4. Christian Holliday Reply

    November 25, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    The Mount Browne site is allocated in the Guildford Local Plan for 116 new dwellings. Failure to develop a previously developed site such as this places more pressure on our green belt and countryside. The council now needs to make up the shortfall elsewhere.

  5. Keith Francis Reply

    November 27, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Will Guildford Borough Council now be thinking about a quid pro quo with Mole Valley District Council for the possible new dwellings on what would have been the Leatherhead site proposed for the Surrey Police Headquarters?

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