The best part of twenty years before this fresh faced officer was born, workmen from W. Kendrick and Sons Ltd were scurrying around what was then a building site on Green Lane, Walsall, to build the ‘H’ division a new HQ.
State of the art for its time, the new base featured a shooting range, billiards room and a fountain in the front office that functioned as both an aquarium and an impromptu bath, depending on who was using it.
As Kev Pitt writes on his beard-strokingly interesting blog about the construction of the station, the total cost for the build came to £444,979.
Fast forward to the current day and whilst the building has served us bobbies well, it now costs more per year to maintain than the entire station cost to build in the first place, not adjusting for inflation.
As I’ve written previously, it’s owing to these sort of economics, alongside the fact that the station is in dire need of an update, that we’ll be moving out of Green Lane over the next few months.
The reshuffling due to take place forms part of the wider estate review announced by PCC Bob Jones on Monday under which the force’s bean counters will be examining our 140 properties with a view to reducing the £17.5 million cost associated with maintaining them.
Areas to be examined include how we’re currently using our buildings, the long term maintenance costs and whether we could save money by finding ‘room mates’ such as the local council with whom to split the bills.
On the latter point, it’s something that’s already happening in Solihull and has been very successful thanks to a well organised washing up rota and understandings that police officers take out the rubbish once a week and that councillors buy a new carton of milk when they finish the old one and don’t have the TV on too loud late at night.
Furthermore, the reshuffling also takes into account our move towards ‘super blocks’ with our living history cells at Steelhouse Lane being shut accordingly.
The estate review will take place in four phases taking us into the distant future-scape of 2015 and we’d be keen to hear from yourselves on how the proposals might affect you.
You can contact us through a range of different methods by clicking here, I’ll keep you updated on the project too with a special focus on what’s happening at Green Lane as and when I hear more.