Police plan to quit Belle Vue Road Depot

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The local police have submitted a planning application (ref 12/01402/FU) to relocate from the Belle Vue Road depot to a site on Woodhouse Lane owned by Leeds University. The proposed new site is located opposite the old BBC studios.

The planning application states:

The proposal is for West Yorkshire Police to relocate the Belle Vue Neighbourhood Policing Team and Proactive Crime teams into the building to be used as an operational base for local policing. Currently the existing teams for this area are located in Belle Vue Garages on Belle Vue Road. These premises are in a state of disrepair and with the growing spending pressures it is not economically viable to the Force to spend money on these premises are earmarked for disposal.

As a result of this consideration, the Local Division has invested time and effort into negotiations with Leeds University with regard to obtaining access to premises in or around the University Campus.

Recently it has become clear that the University see this as a very positive move and from a police point of view the Campus is very close to Belle Vue and offers many opportunities for improving the policing service in and around the Campus and the tens of thousands of students who surround it and the policing hotspot it occupies.

In addition the integration of the Police into University premises assists the University strategy to become ranked with the top universities worldwide.

The planning application goes on to say:

Various forms of consultation have taken place directly with the residents/businesses in the area principally the immediate adjacent property owners of Unipol and the Grind Café have been consulted over the intended use – both occupants have no reservations and support the enhanced Police presence in the area, feeling that the increased level of visibility in the area will give the community more confidence in crime reduction and personal safety.

But what about the residents of Hyde Park and Woodhouse?

A few years ago, our local police inspector applied for permission to have parking bays for police vehicles on St John’s Road, outside the existing depot. In support of his application, he stated that the presence of police vehicles on the street would deter crime in a high crime area. But now the police want to quit our area so they can police the university campus. Don’t they know that the university has its own security service to police its campus? Don’t they know that the crime in this area occurs outside the university campus, and not in it? They’ve planned this move without any consultation with the community which has played host to them for decades. And they’ve forgotten that it’s the permanent residents of Hyde Park and Woodhouse who pay for the police service, not Leeds University.

Possible land swap?

In 2001, the Grammar School’s former headmaster boasted how he had single-handedly arranged the school’s relocation from its Moorland Road site to Alwoodley. He said that prior to the move, he and the university’s vice chancellor had had secret meetings at which the headmaster agreed to accept a farm at Alwoodley and a large cash sum, in exchange for the school’s Moorland Road site. He said that secrecy had been essential so that no one could object to the scheme until it was too late. The result of the deal he struck is the massive new Law School which totally dominates the Victorian houses at the top of Belle Vue Road.

The police have told no one about their intention to quit the Belle Vue Road Depot. This planning application is the first intimation of such a plan. Could this be stage one of a secret land swap arranged with university? A couple of years from now, might we see another massive university block on this site, to match the one they already have at the other end of Belle Vue Road?

How to object

You can object to this application either by using the council’s online form or by sending an email to planning@leeds.gov.uk If you send an email, remember to quote the planning application reference number and give your postal address. The deadline for objections is Friday 18th May 2012.

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15 Responses to Police plan to quit Belle Vue Road Depot

  1. Keith says:

    I see people openly drinking on the wall of the Police garage and drunken behaviour and bad language at some of the flats opposite the Police garage I can only assume its drugs they are collecting from open ground floor windows, I will log a call with non-emergency i believe this is now caused by the open lack of any police prescence.

  2. Keith says:

    I am also concerned about no police prescence in the area , Im also concerned about the security of the police garage at Belle Vue road i reported a recent incident of a rear fire exit door left obviously open for two nights. Consultation of moving out seems to have been very poor to abysmal as most of the longer term residents close by were unaware.

  3. Insp Ian O'Brien says:

    I have now been informed that the Neighbourhood Policing Teams will move from Belle Vue Road Garages tothe new premises on Woodhouse Lane on the week commencing 6th August. I believe that the Chief Constable, Sir Norman Bettison, will officially open the building at 10am on Thursday 9th August.

  4. Inap Ian O'Brien says:

    Just to let you know that the date for the move to the new Police premises is a little delayed. It will not be as shown above, at the end of July. The new date will be into August, and once I have a confirmed date, I will endeavour to let you know.
    Regards,
    Ian

  5. Bill says:

    Thanks for this update Ian.

  6. Inspector Ian O'Brien says:

    The latest information provided to me is that the new Police premises for the local Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be available from the 27th July 2012. It is proposed that the premises will be officially opened by the Chief Constable, Sir Norman Bettison, on the 30th July. At this stage, the proposed itinery for that date has not been confirmed. I will try to update soonest with any further information supplied to me.

    Regards,

    Ian

  7. Inspector Ian O'Brien says:

    Update as of today (15th May 2012) – It is expected that we will be notified at the end of May regarding the change of use for 153. Contractors will carry out the works required to make the house fit for purpose to house the appropriate Policing staff. It is hoped we will be in the house by the end of June.

  8. Bill says:

    Thanks Ian for assuring us that you’re still committed to Little Woodhouse. But like Sue, I do still have concerns about the effect of your move on our area.

  9. Sue Thomas says:

    My immediate reaction, to news of the police wanting to quit the Belle Vue site is that it is awful news. Having them walking up and down Kelso Road regularly has done wonders to reduce vandalism on the road. The university will think this a great coup, student safety seems to be occupying their propoganda machine a lot at present, whereas concern for the students impact on the neighbourhood seems to be a lot of hot air.

  10. Hyde Park Neighbourhood Policing Team says:

    Bill,
    Further to my last entry on this site, I will try to update the community as best I can, as information comes to me. I am informed that West Yorkshire Police do intend to sell the site in the future. This will be a corporate decision, and handled by our Estates department. As yet the site is not up for sale, and I am unaware of any immediate interest in it. I appreciate your concerns, but must re-iterate, that from a local Neighbourhood Policing Team and divisional perspective, my team and I are fully committed to continue delivering the same service to the Ward – from within the Ward.

    Ian

    Ian O’Brien
    Inspector
    Hyde Park Neighbourhood Policing Team
    North West Leeds Division

  11. Bill says:

    Thank you Inspector O’Brien. Will the university be taking over the Belle Vue Road depot site?

  12. Hyde Park Neighbourhood Policing Team says:

    The move to Woodhouse Lane has been discussed recently, and would appear to be going ahead in May.
    All the local councillors were informed some time ago of the proposal.
    The premises at Belle Vue Road are unfortunately not fit for purpose, and are extremely costly to maintain.
    In a time of financial constraints, the move to Woodhouse Lane is one that will hopefully protect jobs and services offered locally by the Police.
    In identifying another location to use, we were conscious of keeping a Policing “footprint” in the Woodhouse and Hyde Park Ward area. This was, and continues to be, the main consideration.
    I have read the article below, and am somewhat disappointed at the view that we are abandoning the local community – this could not be further from the truth. It is for all intents and purposes a decision that will alow us to continue to provide the same high quality service in the area that we have always strived to achieve.

    Ian O’Brien
    Inspector
    Hyde Park Neighbourhood Policing Team
    North West Leeds Division

  13. Garance says:

    Looking at the plans, the new site in Woodhouse Lane doesn’t look big enough for all the staff and vehicles, so maybe the Police will be keeping some of Belle Vue garage up and running.

    If however they bail out completely that would make quiet a difference to our community; Both in terms of having no police profile in the area and the vast swathe of buildings and land (including St Michael’s next door) which will be ripe for developers to move in.

    This could be good or bad news for the area. Post a comment and tell us what you think.

  14. Garance says:

    Thankfully some people are more on the ball than I am… I hadn’t noticed that the plans for a Woodhouse Lane property would impact on our community to such an extent.

    Yes, we do need to be aware of this change. When Belle Vue Garage is abandoned, that will leave a massive empty area on St John’s Road – St Michael’s College is next door, already a huge empty building and site. As well as loosing a police prescence in our area, it may now be ripe for crime until developed in the future.

    And what might that development be? and how will it impact on The Kendals and Consorts communities opposite?

    Tell us what you think ….

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