Could new plan help keep Solihull’s Homer Road police station open?

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Solihull Police Station could avoid a controversial move under a proposal to share the vastly under-used building with government civil servants.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has suggested that officials could fill empty offices at the Homer Road site and allow it to remain open.

Since 2018 the town centre base has been scheduled to close, with police planning to move to a new home somewhere nearby.

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But Mr Jamieson has recently written to cabinet minister Michael Gove, suggesting that ministers could consider transferring some London-based operations to the police station.

The PCC suggests that, if the plan got off the ground, it might allow the borough’s policing team to stop where it is.

In his letter to Mr Gove last month, Mr Jamieson said that both Solihull station and a second site, in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, had “excellent transport links” and could house 100s of staff once Covid restrictions were relaxed.

“I am willing to explore the possibility of the civil service moving into these vacant police buildings as they become available,” he said.

“There is also an opportunity for potential dual use of the buildings with the police continuing to use their existing space whilst civil servants occupy the vacant part of the buildings.”

He had urged Mr Gove, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, to get back in touch within weeks since the force was currently working through options.

While the Labour PCC is still waiting for a reply, the government has confirmed it has had the letter and is preparing a response.

The proposed closure of Homer Road has been at the centre of a bitter political row for around two and a half years.

Leading Tories have been scathing about proposals, with Solihull MP Julian Knight having launched a second petition against the plan last month.

“Residents here want real community-based policing, not to be left reliant on a ‘flying squad’ based in Birmingham,” he said.

Mr Jamieson has always insisted that the current site would not shut until another base had been found nearby, and that having Homer Road 80 per cent unoccupied was not sustainable.

Various options have been floated since 2018, including the possibility of the police sharing a building with Solihull Council – which is itself planning a move to a new HQ. Although no firm plans have been announced.

The letter to Mr Gove comes on the back of comments from the minister himself that he wanted to move Whitehall departments out of the capital and “closer to where the action is.”

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that it is preparing a response to Mr Jamieson’s letter, but was unable to comment further at this stage.





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