North West Wales

Towyn and Colwyn Bay police station closure opposition

Businesses and politicians have expressed their concern over plans to close two North Wales Police stations.

The force intend permanently to shut the station in Towyn, and to close the town centre police station in Colwyn Bay, both in Conwy county borough.

Staff in Colwyn Bay will transfer to the force headquarters building, a mile away on the edge of the town centre.

The force say they need to save money and to modernise many of their old buildings.

But Clwyd West Conservative MP David Jones is unhappy with the proposals.

"My concern is that Colwyn Bay is the second biggest town in the whole of the North Wales Police force area," said Mr Jones.

"I think it needs a strong visible police presence in the town centre.

"The alternative, which is to have the police station in police headquarters would not give the town centre a police presence.

"I believe the police are considering a kind of counter service in the shopping centre, but that would be a limited service, and wouldn't have the full complement of police officers.

"I feel - and a lot of people I've spoken to also feel - that we need to preserve a strong police presence in the centre of Colwyn Bay."

Plans to permanently close the police station in Towyn, near Abergele, have also been criticised. The station has been closed for almost three years, and currently has no staff based there.

'Extremely busy resort'

But Clwyd West Conservative AM Darren Millar said: "Towyn is an extremely busy seaside resort which sees its population boom to more than 50,000 during the busy holiday season.

"Rather than close the station, North Wales Police should be increasing the scale of its operation in the area and basing more officers there."

North Wales Police are running a consultation on the proposals jointly with the force's governing body, the North Wales Police Authority. The two bodies are inviting people to have their say before the end of January.

The force also planning to close the police stations at Penrhyndeudraeth in Gwynedd, along with Gaerwen and Valley on Anglesey.

Police stations in Gresford, Cefn Mawr, Chirk (all in Wrexham county borough), Bala, Nefyn, Bethesda (Gwynedd), Saltney, Flint, Buckley, Holywell (Flintshire), Llangollen (Denbighshire) and Llandudno (Conwy county borough) are likely to be moved to other shared buildings.

Deputy chief constable Ian Shannon said: "Some police stations are simply not fit for purpose; they were built a long time ago, some of them are not in the right places, and we need to deal with that.

"I want to do as much as I can to maintain public service. We've set a target of reducing our estates costs by 20%. This strategy will allow us to do that.

"Bluntly, that allows me to keep 30 police officers on the streets whom I might otherwise lose, and whom the public would lose."

Other police forces in Wales have been drawing up similar plans.

Dyfed-Powys Police have been in talks to close a station in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, and move into the fire station. The deal has yet to be finalised with the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The force's station in Llandeilo, Camarthenshire, could close in March as part of an estates review which recommends shutting other buildings to save £13m.

Officials are considering moving police staff at Llandeilo into Carmarthenshire council's civic offices if arrangements can be agreed.

Meanwhile, staff from Torfaen council will occupy space in Gwent Police headquarters in Cwmbran next spring.

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