A retirement property developer has released details of its plans for Berkhamsted’s former police station – five months after it bought the property for £2,620,000.
Beechcroft Developments wants to bring the building back to life by converting it into 23 apartments for the over-55s above a ground floor library.
The building sits in a prominent position in the town centre between the High Street and Kings Road. It has been empty for the last three years after officers moved next-door into Berkhamsted Civic Centre.
The property was originally marketed for sale by Hertfordshire Police Authority, who later considered merging it with neighbouring properties to create a ‘single central site’ for public sector services.
Tory David Lloyd was then elected into the new role of police and crime commissioner for Herts, taking over the responsibilities of the former police authority. He then put the property back on the market.
Berkhamsted lobbying group B-Hive then suggested in a 95-page report that the site could provide public services like a museum or theatre as well as new homes.
Beechcroft Developments has now released an artist’s impression of its vision for the former police station. But in the image, the property is buried in the background of a picture of Berkhamsted High Street as it appears at the moment.
In a 637-word press release about its plans, Beechcroft says nothing about what will happen to the town’s current Kings Road library if the scheme goes ahead.
Its representatives say this will be revealed during a civic centre exhibition of the plans from 5pm to 7.30pm on Thursday and from 10am to 2pm on Saturday.
B-Hive spokesman Jane Collis said: “B-Hive have not been given an opportunity to see or influence the plans in advance of this as we had very much hoped.”
Instead the developer will allow its representatives to see the plans one hour before everyone else on Thursday.
No information about the proposed development will be published on the Beechcroft Developments website.
Land director Duncan Morris said: “The idea is to get people’s views and if they are really passionate about it, they have got two public meetings to come to.”
He said the meetings will be advertised in tomorrow’s Gazette – but it is unclear how prominently they will feature in the newspaper at this stage.
Beechcroft Developments says its proposals will ‘create an opportunity to remove two prominent eyesore buildings which detract from the Conservation Area according to the Local Plan’.
The developer also owns a site that sits between Swing Gate Lane and Berkhamsted High Street – which it will allow Dacorum Borough Council to build 13 affordable homes on.
The firm claims this will replace another eyesore at the gateway to Berkhamsted.
During its two public exhibitions, Beechcroft Developments will distribute feedback forms that will need to be completed by Friday, October 3.
The comments will be considered by the firm as it draws up its planning application for the development of the former police station. Beechcroft hopes to start work on the scheme in 2015.