Morrisons leave police 'in the dark' over building plans

The current Devon and Cornwall Police headquarters at Middlemoor Image copyright Google
Image caption A police source said Morrisons "aren't being at all clear" about their plans for Middlemoor

Key plans for new police buildings are in doubt after the supermarket involved in the development missed a planning deadline.

Devon and Cornwall Police is relying on £20m from the sale of land to Morrisons to pay for a new criminal justice centre at its headquarters site at Middlemoor, Exeter.

A police source said they were "in the dark" about what Morrisons would do.

The company said it was working to "finalise" the plans.

Devon and Cornwall Police's plans for a criminal justice centre would replace the custody unit at Exeter's ageing Heavitree Road Police station.

A police source said they were "now trying to uncouple that work from the building of the supermarket".

"Morrisons aren't being at all clear about their plans", the source added.

Morrisons failed to start construction work in April, which means stricter new energy efficiency standards will now be required, making the project significantly more expensive to build.

Analysis: Simon Hall, South West Home Affairs Correspondent

The concerns about Morrisons' plans have put a key part of the modernisation programme for Devon and Cornwall Police in doubt.

Senior officers are preparing for more budget cuts from the newly-elected government, on top of the tens of millions of pounds they've already lost.

This uncertainty represents an extra headache they could well do without.

The supermarket chain said it was continuing to work behind the scenes with Devon and Cornwall Police and Exeter City Council "to finalise the plans" and would "provide an update on its progress in due course".

Devon and Cornwall Police also said they were continuing to work with Morrisons and Exeter City Council "to progress the development".

In March, Morrisons announced an annual loss of £792m. The chain already has one major store in Exeter.

In a statement, Exeter City Council, the planning authority, said, "Tighter building regulations came into force for buildings started after April. However, none of these buildings have been started yet."

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