NO DECISION on whether to press ahead with a new custody centre for Gwent Police will be taken for two years.
The force has applied for planning permission to redevelop its former headquarters at Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran, which could see a new building with 50 cells to hold suspects built as well as a training building and replacement vehicle workshop.
As well as the application for planning permission to build the new facilities it has asked for permission to start demolition work on existing buildings.
It has asked Torfaen Borough Council for permission to start the demolition of the amenity and administration buildings at its former base and, in June this year, it’s hoped work to pull down the existing vehicle garage and workshops could begin, with the delay due to bat roosts in the buildings.
But even if the borough council approves the full planning permission no construction work will start as the force hasn’t yet completed the approval process to decide if it wants the new facilities.
A spokesman for the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner, who oversees the police force, said it has yet to agree a business case, which public authorities are required to put in place at the start of any potential building project.
The spokesman said: “The business case for a new Gwent Police Operational Facility on the site has not been approved and remains deferred for two years.
“Significant work remains on understanding its feasibility and affordability. The planning application has been made to help establish the proposal’s viability before a decision has been made.”
In the planning application submitted to Torfaen council the force said a new custody suite would provide it with modern facilities as those arrested are currently held at either Ystrad Mynach or Newport Central, which it described as “old, tired and not fit for purpose”.