Old Police Station

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There has been a lot of discussion about the old police station, near to the Fountain roundabout. It has been empty and boarded up for some time. Christchurch Old Police Station
Christchurch Old Police Station
From the front. Click for larger image (2000 x 1500px)
Click for larger image (2000x1500px)
From the side. Click for larger image (2000 x 1500px)
Christchurch Old Police Station
The grassed courtyard – currently being used by some of the homeless.
Click for larger image (2000 x 1500px)
On May 6 2018, The Echo online published an article about a proposed development. It consists of over a hundred new homes for a variety of affordable rent, shared ownership and sale on the open market. There would also be fifty retirement flats and some shops. This is obviously a major development on a prime site right in the centre of town. Two of the many comments in the Echo show different opinions about this:
  • Nice to see some affordable homes being built by Aster, a local housing association, rather than the usual speculative developments.
  • More houses will just mean more second homes for minted Londoners moving down and killing the local jobs economy for normal people. My brother lives in Christchurch, the 3 bed house next to his was snapped up by a Londoner who only uses it 2 weeks a year.
Feel free to add your own comment in the Echo, or at the bottom of this page.
  • Update, 22 May: More in The Echo about the Police Station
  • Update, 15 May: New concern about this development. Echo article

CHRISTCHURCH TIMES, 14 JUNE: Concerns Over Station Scheme

Frustrations boiled over at a residents’ meeting to discuss plans for the former police station site in Christchurch. More than 200 people packed into Christchurch Baptist Church to quiz representatives from the Aster Group about their proposals for the site. Officers from Christchurch Borough Council’s planning department were also on hand to field questions about the planning process and factors that are considered in determining an application. The Christchurch Citizens’ Association meeting saw concerned residents turn out in large numbers to vent their views on the initial plans for the town centre location. Aster Group’s vision for the site, which includes the former police station, Magistrates Court buildings, the Pit Site and Bargates car parks, and private gardens from properties on Barrack Road feature 106 new homes, retail units and 54 retirement flats. So Bungey, chair of Christchurch Citizens Association, said: “It was worthwhile having the meeting. However because of the level of passion and understandable concern people have it did develop into quite a volatile meeting. The questions were not all answered satisfactorily by Aster Group and that did not help the situation. The loss of the Pit Site is terrible and businesses in Bargates have real concerns. Traffic in this area of the town is going to be even worse.” Aster Group is still in the midst of a consultation process, which is set to continue before the formal planning application is submitted.

The Public Meeting

Here is a summary of an article in the Christchurch Times on May 17: A range of concerns about plans to redevelop the former police station site in Christchurch town centre were expressed. including issues about access, car parking and the overall nature of the major housing and retail scheme was expressed by the community at a consultation on Tuesday. Aster group showed their initial plans (photographs below) to the public at the event in the Kings Arms pavilion. This site includes the former police station, the magistrates court buildings, Bargates and Pitside car parks, the former Goose and Timber pub and sections of private gardens. Aster is preparing an application to Christchurch Borough Council to build more than 100 homes with retail units and 50 retirement flats. Here are some comments from local residents:
  • Stephanie King, (Burton): There are so many beautiful trees around that site and I’m worried they could go. I’m also very concerned about the traffic situation and about doctors, dentists and schools.
Those views were shared by others at the event, although some supported the additional housing.
  • Deborah Austin, (Stanpit): I think it is a good idea that site needs rejuvenating and it will provide much-needed housing.
Material of the consultation says the new homes are expected to generate 30 to 40 extra vehicles rates during morning and evening peak hours. Local Rresident Liz Oliver: I think the area needs sprucing up. I don’t know why we need more retail units. I’m concerned about the traffic because it is usually gridlock in the town already.
  • Aster hopes to submit a planning application later this year after taking on board the feedback from the consultation event. The housing association is already accepting interest in proposed homes.
In a statement about the consultation, Lindsey Aldington, senior development manager at Aster group said, Community feedback can help shape our plans and we are keen to hear what local residents think.
The display at lunchtime. Staff were available to discuss the project and answer questions.
This took place at the Kings Arms Pavilion (the old bowling green) on Tuesday, May 15, from 11.30 until 8pm. Click the picture above to go to the Aster website about this development (opens in a new window). Visitors were given a booklet on arrival, with brief details of Aster and the project. Here are scans of the booklet.
Aster Development Christchurch Police Station
Aster booklet – the vision. Click for full size image (around 150K – opens in new window)
Aster Development Christchurch Police Station
Aster booklet – redevelopment proposal. Click for full size image (around 150K – opens in new window)
The pictures below were photographed from the various parts of the display. Where appropriate, a section has been magnified for clarity. To see each picture full size (1000px wide) just click and choose view full size if needed. These do not open in a new window: to return, use the back button. Here is the feedback form which visitors were invited to complete and hand in. Table, chairs and pencils were provided. Pdf, around 350K.

Bournemouth Echo, 4 August: Vandalism

Windows on the first floor of the building on Barrack Road were smashed, while others were badly cracked. Additional fencing and warning notices have been put up around the site. Doors and windows on the ground floor of the building have been boarded up for months. The police station closed to the public in March 2015. Dorset Police operations left the site in August last year, with officers moving in with the fire service at the station on Fairmile Road. The Bargates site is earmarked for redevelopment, with housing developers Aster Group proposing to bulldoze all the buildings on the land, which includes the former Magistrates Court, to build a residential and retail scheme. A planning application has not yet been submitted to the council.
The Old Police Station. 19 August 2018

Bournemouth Echo

8 October: Proposals being considered

A little news about the progress of the development.
4 December: Initial plans submitted (ref 8/18/3263/FUL) In an article in today’s Echo, there are details of the initial proposal for the site. There are a lot of documents, so here is the link to the Council website so that you can look for yourself. Go to View Documents on that page. The summary is here: Erection of 131 residential dwellings, 39 units of age-restricted sheltered accommodation (C3), and 612 m2 of flexible commercial/community space (A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, D1 (Museum only) use classes), new road between Bargates and Barrack Road, new vehicular access from Barrack Road (to serve sheltered accommodation only), new private and semi-private gardens, public open space, hard and soft landscaping, surface vehicular parking and residential garages, following the demolition of the Police Station and Magistrates’ Court, nos. 23 and 41 Barrack Road, former Goose and Timber public house, and ancillary buildings and structures. Finally, an entirely random picture taken from one of the plans:
8 December – Article in the Bournemouth Echo This article is exciting –  Aster Group say that, ‘Our vision is that ‘everyone has a home’ and at the heart of our organisation, we are focused on providing homes for those that need them, and at a price point they can afford.’ Sounds good – but is it full of promise, yet signifying nothing? Time will tell.
13 December – Science Centre
Mission re-Ignition co-founder
Dr Jan Peters MBE
Today in The Echo it is reported that Mission Ignition are proposing a science centre in the old police station. They say, ‘A key element of the centre would be the provision of much needed resource for community groups, such as U3A, Christchurch History Society and Café Scientifique.’ I have not been able to find more information about them, except that there is a Channel Four programme called Mission Ignition, which involves driving cars very quickly! That is nothing to do with this. Here is what Dr Peters said: ‘Having an informed conversation, with young and old, is vital to addressing problems faced by society and ensuring people have a choice of the full range of career options.’ I am not sure what it is called: it is either Mission Ignition or Mission re-Ignition, depending on which source you read! There is more information in The Echo about the plans, including some useful images.
Old police station plans, Christchurch
Click the image to go to the Echo article
Finally, here is a link to the latest planning application, made at the end of November. Warning – there is a lot of it!

15 April 2019

A Very Minor Update

Today I went through the site, though there were warnings not to! However, many seem to do it, I passed a dog-walker there. I recognised the entrance to the quadrangle, where there had been so many tents (see above), so I had a look. It wasn’t quite deserted.
Only one tent this time

5 October 2019

A Big Change …

…but not progress! Driving past the other day I saw that the whole building has been made secure, with hoarding around the outside (see the header picture) and plastic sheeting sealing the building itself. I tried to take a picture by poking the camera below the hoarding, but there was not enough space, so I will try again in the next few days. Note – picture now done. Scroll down. I was also interested to see a boarded-up bungalow next to the site, which I hadn’t noticed before. I was able to creep into the garden (security not perfect!) and got the picture below. I didn’t want to go much further  as it was very secluded, and a fall could have left me lying there until only my bones were found months later!
I have been told that this was the Police Inspector’s house. Click for a larger picture.
Just enough room under the hoarding to poke the camera through!

20 February 2020

Is the End in Sight?

Look at the front page of Today’s Christchurch Times: It is recommended that the decision for nearly two hundred homes, with sheltered accommodation, should be approved. Here is the online article in The Echo, with much information and many comments. You can see the agenda for the meeting at 1pm here. Or see the relevant bits.

21 February

No News – Yet

I have been looking at the BCP Council site, and there is currently no more information about this application. As soon as I find it, it will be published and notified on the home page. There has been a slight change, though. The site now has a smart new iron gate, complete with padlock. Scroll up, all the way, to see how this site has changed since May 2018.

22 February

Plans Approved

It was reported in The Echo that this application was passed. The audio recording is available here. As you will see, the meeting lasted nearly 4½ hours, but particularly  interesting bits (?!) start at around thirty minutes. Anyway, I waded through it this morning and, delighted to be the first with the news, told someone at work, only to discover that she already knew! It had been reported in The Echo. One piece of information not in the article was the voting: it was passed by eleven, with two against and two abstentions, so the time was not entirely wasted. Further, on showing this knowledgeable lady the pictures, she said that the house (pictured below, scroll up for another) was the police inspector’s house. She should know – her husband was in the police, and she lived in one!
The Inspector’s House
Note that I was going to go through the audio again, but will actually wait until the minutes are published. they will be notified here as soon as they are ready. 6 MarchSee the minutes.