New police station for town

Inspector John Esson looks at the new proposed plans
Inspector John Esson looks at the new proposed plans

Plans for a new Grampian Police office and custody facility in Peterhead were unveiled to the public on Thursday.

An exhibition was held at the Territorial Army Hall on Catto Drive for three hours, enabling the public to look at the plans and ask questions.

Project manager and Local Policing Team Inspector, John Esson, was on hand to guide the public through the proposals.

The evening had a steady attendance, with those appearing expressing a great interest in the plans and discussing any issues with Inspector Esson.

The new project is to be based at Catto Way, with two access points. Policing teams will have access to the site from Catto Way while public visitors will only have access from Catto Drive.

The way in which the site is designed is to be town central, yet far enough away as to not have an impact on nearby residents.

Despite the site being adjacent to a residential street, the custody section of the new facility will be situated at the back so residents should not be interrupted by any noise.

The new facility will be home to the Local Policing Team, CID, Finger Management Unit and a new 20-cell block custody facility which is already a five-cell increase on the number currently at Fraserburgh.

The project is future proofed for any increases in staff with room for 50 police officers, which is more than the current Merchant Street station.

Inspector Esson said it was “just a coincidence” that the Fire Station is close by.

The plans on display showed the facility will comprise two storeys which will have offices on both floors with the custody suite for questioning on the ground floor.

Outside the building there will be plentiful car parking space.

An electronically-operated sliding gate will protect the outer perimeter with a van dock round the back of the building so those in custody being transported will be out of the sight of residents.

The cost of the project is still to be determined as there is no exact figure on the cards at the moment.

The police are still awaiting the

public’s opinions and feedback but the evening exhibition was used as part of gaining this.

The need for a new purpose-built facility arose after the existing Merchant Street building was deemed unsuitable.

Speaking to the Buchanie, Inspector John Esson said: “I hope it gets the go ahead, it is much needed.

“The new site will have modern facilities which is better than our Merchant Street office which have not been fit for purpose, for I reckon, about the last 20 years.”

Grampian Police currently does not have the budget to build it, though they have identified the project in full and have a location in mind. They are currently looking for planning permission which they are hoping to get next year in either February or March. It will be up to the Single Police Service whether it gets the go ahead or not.

On the location of the site, Inspector Esson said: “It makes more logical sense for it to be where it is. The court is here so it will save time and travelling instead of transporting those in custody from here to Fraserburgh.

“It will lower our carbon footprint.”

When asked about whether the new facility will have an effect on the Fraserburgh office, Inspector Esson said: “Fraserburgh will still be a standalone office and it will still have the same services.

“They will only use cells short term here at our new facility while we interview people and long term custodials will be sent up to Fraserburgh.”

On the initial plans he added: “There are still hurdles to go through but steps are being taken in a positive direction.”

The location of the facility could have a positive impact on stopping boy racers who speed up Catto Drive and cars which congregate outside the graveyard on Windmill Road.

It is also hoped the police presence will help to reduce crime rates in the area as a whole. If the plans get planning permission and appropriate funding, the project is expected to be complete and up and running within the next three to five years.

Chair of the Buchan Area Committee, Stuart Pratt, who attended the exhibition said: “It is fine to see. A new police station is needed and its good to see it at this stage.