Thornbury police team to move into council offices - for now
POLICE officers in Thornbury will be moving into the district council's offices next month until a long-term solution is found, the Gazette can reveal.
With the police station due to be demolished and turned into a sheltered housing complex by autumn 2014, the neighbourhood team will be transferred to South Gloucestershire Council's Castle Street headquarters in September.
This can only be temporary however as council staff are due to vacate the building soon, although it is unclear whether they will leave at the end of the year or in 2014.
The Gazette understands that police and council staff are looking to move into a communal building elsewhere in Thornbury and are considering several options.
Superintendent Mike Carter said the relocation would in no way affect police work in the town.
"The approval of the planning application has moved us a step closer to our completion date of October 2013 for the sale of Thornbury Police station," he said.
"I’d like to reassure local residents that our services will continue as normal throughout this period. We have been offered temporary accommodation by South Gloucestershire Council in their Castle Street property.
"We will be moving there before October 2013 until such a time a permanent property becomes available. We have operated an appointment only service in Thornbury since 2011 and there will be no interruption to this service when we move from the current site."
Despite rumours that the neighbourhood team could be transferred ten miles away to Chipping Sodbury police station, the force has renewed its pledge to retain its presence in the town.
Town and district Cllr Maggie Tyrrell said the police and council's joint search for premises would allow both bodies to work more closely together for the benefit of the community.
But if their efforts failed, she said the council would "fight" to keep the police team in Thornbury.
"In the long-term I would hope and expect that if the council moves premises the police will move with them," she said.
"If that's the long-term aim that's good news. I don't suppose anybody at this point can make absolute promises; there is no contract signed.
"We will fight to keep a police presence in the town. The town is too big not to have one."
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said the local authority had nothing else to add at this stage.
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