Lancashire Constabulary's new divisional HQ has reached completion and features offsite precast technology to provide one of the UK's largest custody suites, with innovative design and a more secure environment for officers and those in custody.
The facility - which sits on a 10,000sq m site on the outskirts of Blackpool, near the M55 motorway, and designed by leading property and construction consultancy McBains - will serve as the new headquarters for the police force's West Division and house one of the largest custody suites in the UK.
Work on the three-storey facility, which has cost in excess of £20 million, commenced in 2015, with McBains providing architecture, mechanical, electrical, and civil and structural engineering support to the building's main contractor, Willmott Dixon. The new facility will replace the West Division's existing base on Bonny Street, and, courtesy of its design, will provide staff with a more efficient work environment. This has been achieved through subtle design solutions, which reduce floor space and that provide flexibility for the constabulary's ever-changing operational requirements.
The site's 42-cell suite exemplifies this. It is housed in a semi-circular precast concrete building and is served with an abundance of natural light. By positioning the main custody desk centrally, with the cell corridors radiating out, the suite also serves to guarantee custody officers a line of sight to each cell corridor. The custody suite, with the natural light and view of each corridor is not only designed to help officers but also improve the well-being of those being held in custody.
Mark Baseby, Director at McBains who oversaw the project, said: "It's great news for Lancashire Constabulary and the wider community that officers will start moving into the new state-of-the-art headquarters over the next few weeks. The external appearance of the building takes its cues from Blackpool and the vibrant seaside environment with the use of colour and form derived from the sea and sand. The internal central atrium space is known as the Promenade. The essence of the scheme is the interface of three contrasting building types and fusing them together in an efficient and flexible way. This will provide an improved environment for staff and detainees, while delivering important efficiencies for the force."
PCE was appointed by main contractor Willmott Dixon as specialist on a design and build basis to provide a single level custody suite building to the rear of the new Lancashire Constabulary West Division headquarters situated on Clifton Road in Blackpool. The 1,020m² custody suite consists of 95 internal walls, 26 corridor walls, 52 duct units, 87 solid slabs, that were manufactured in precast reinforced concrete offsite to the high quality specifications required by the client and PCE's own quality processes.
Nickie Brown, Managing Director of PCE said: "We were pleased to be working again with Willmott Dixon on such a project as the synergy between our two companies always provides a first class outcome for the client, which is important and satisfying. Our combined approach to providing quality with speed of construction whilst maintaining the highest possible levels of Health and Safety, is a credit to the employees of both companies"
Tony Whitehead, Enabler for the Ministry of Justice, who recent visited the new headquarters, said: "McBains and Willmott Dixon have delivered a building to be proud of - a well-designed and well-constructed police base that effectively combines imaginative concept with careful attention to detail. The building represents a step-change in police accommodation, and will surely help strengthen staff well-being, service delivery, and the image of the Lancashire Constabulary in the community."
The building reached Practical Completion on 19 June 2018 with staff set to move across from the Bonny Street base in the following weeks.