Shropshire Star

MP presses for town-centre police base as part of multi-million pound redevelopment

A small police station could be included in the proposed revamp of Shrewsbury's town centre.

The former police station which was based at the Riverside.

Shropshire Council is currently looking at a major, multi-million pound redevelopment of the Riverside area of Shrewsbury – a plan that would transform that area of the town.

Following a meeting with West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, in the town, Shrewsbury & Atcham's Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, has asked the council if the project could include a base for police – similar to the previous police base at the Riverside Shopping Centre.

In a letter to Shropshire Council leader, Councillor Lezley Picton, he said: "I had a meeting with John Campion when we walked around the town centre speaking to local businesses.

"The consensus from businesses is that they would like more police patrols in the town centre, and also a police station.

"With the redevelopment of the Riverside, I wondered if the council would have space to offer to the police for this purpose. Perhaps the council could collaborate with the police to share premises to maximise opportunities for residents to engage with key local services more efficiently."

In response the Conservative Council leader has confirmed that discussions are taking place about the inclusion of a site for a 'small face-to-face station', as was based there previously.

The overall plans for the Riverside redevelopment would see the demolition of the Riverside Centre, as well as the nearby Raven Meadows multi-storey car park, bus station and Pride Hill Shopping Centre – which was closed by the council.

In their place will be a new leisure site, with intentions for it to host a cinema, a new multi-agency base or 'Shirehall', a 'transport hub', up to two hotels, offices, and up to 270 homes

One of main areas of focus for the plan is improving the public space and providing a destination for people to visit – to attract more people to the town, and in turn the county.

During their discussions in Shrewsbury Mr Kawczynski said Mr Campion had told him his focus was getting more police on the beat.

The commissioner said: "I don't want extra police in stations, I want as many as possible visible on the streets."

After being asked about the need for a new police station in Shrewsbury Mr Campion said he was more concerned about police numbers than police buildings.

He said: "A town centre police station is a bit of a red herring. The more that is spent on buildings, means there is less to be spent on officers. A town centre station is not an immediate priority, officers on the beat are."

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