Police talking tosh by blaming council over Dudley 'super station' delays, says leader

Police chiefs have been told they are talking a "load of old tosh" after Dudley Council was blamed for delays to the opening of a new 'super station'.

The site of the proposed new 'super station' in Hall Street, Dudley
The site of the proposed new 'super station' in Hall Street, Dudley

West Midlands Police (WMP) is planning to open the force's Black Country headquarters on land off Hall Street in Dudley by Spring 2023.

The project – first mooted in 2019 – has been held up by a series of delays, with police now claiming the land is not in a fit state for the force to buy.

Andy Kelly, corporate asset management assistant director for WMP, said the council had agreed to "engage with neighbours" over a number of problems with the site's condition.

However, Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley rubbished the claims, and insisted all outstanding issues had been dealt with and the land was "ready for purchase".

He said: "I'm afraid they are talking a load of old tosh. If they had said that about three months ago, fair enough, but the issues with the landowners have now all been dealt with.

"We have done all we need to do and any delay now is with West Midlands Police."

The delays are understood to relate to the condition of a retaining wall and some aged pipework.

Police want to open the new station by Spring 2023

Mr Kelly was asked for an update on the progress of the site at a meeting of the Police and Crime Commissioner's strategic board,

He said: "It has been a protracted deal. I can report we are now making progress.

"We have agreed with the council they will engage with the neighbours before Christmas with a list of questions we have raised, which highlight some of the potential issues with the land.

"It's not in a state for us to purchase at the moment, and I think as the Chief Constable has said previously, when buying a house, these are the sort of issues you want to understand.

"It's like doing a survey. We need to understand the results of that before we push forward with taxpayers money and purchase the land."

He added: "I see no delays from the police side at all, and the council just need to confirm with the neighbours where they are with a number of issues."

It comes after PCC Simon Foster signed off on a deal to close down more than 20 police stations and bases, including 11 in the Black Country.

Officers are currently co-locating in Dudley Council house, with the town's police station on New Street having been shut down by Mr Foster's predecessor, David Jamieson, in 2017.

The proposed new station is set to replace the current regional HQ in Brierley Hill, which will be closed down and sold off in 2024.

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