Frequently Asked Questions
The Proposals for Milton
What did you consult on?
We consulted on proposals for a new southern Cambridgeshire police hub on a site next to the Park and Ride in Milton. This hub will replace the outdated facilities at Parkside Police Station in Cambridge city centre. This is being complemented by a new city centre police station.
The proposals respond to the changing nature of crime and policing in Cambridgeshire alongside local population growth. Our current operation doesn’t allow us to fully respond to today’s needs. These new facilities are needed to improve our response and service to you, and without them tackling crime will become more difficult.
You can find out more information on the proposals in our virtual exhibition.
Why have you come back to Milton?
The site in Milton best fulfils the specification and needs of Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
What has changed?
The need for a new police hub for Cambridgeshire Constabulary remains as necessary now as when we first consulted in June 2019. Following our service change consultation in February 2020, which demonstrates the public’s recognition of the need for new police facilities, we are now in a position to present our proposals for the police hub in Milton and provide further information.
Since June 2019, we have made changes to the proposals, including reorienting the building and changes to the landscaping proposals.
How many sites did you consider and where were they?
We have considered 22 different sites across the county against 27 criteria. The Milton site performed particularly well against the following:
- Access to road network
- Compatibility with neighbours
- Land usage
- Services to the site (gas, water, electric, drainage and telephone)
- Size, shape and massing
- Staff wellbeing
For reasons of commercial sensitivity we cannot disclose the exact locations of the sites, but the approximate locations of the sites can be seen in the virtual exhibition boards.
When did you look for sites?
We have been looking at possible sites for the new hub for more than 12 months – ahead of our June 2019 survey. Since then we have reviewed the availability of land that meets our requirements, most recently in June 2020.
Why are you looking to build on the Green Belt?
A full site search has been undertaken, which found that there are no sites that meet our criteria, and are a better option than this site, available outside the Green Belt. In terms of the Green Belt sites we considered, this site will have the least impact on Cambridge’s Green Belt and local wildlife and fauna.
Alongside this, the location is next to a landfill site and the Milton Park & Ride and the layout does not contribute to the openness you would associate with the countryside.
Is there an alternative option to the Milton proposal?
The site at Milton was selected following a rigorous search and evaluation of the available options. It is considered the most suitable and will have the least impact on the Green Belt. The site area was defined by a number of operational requirements and needed to be large enough to accommodate an increase in the number of cells to 24. Custody facilities must be single storey, which means that a good proportion of the site area required will be taken up by the new custody suite. Other sites that we have considered were not available within the timescale required, and are also in the Green Belt.
What facilities will there be at the hub?
The new hub will contain policing functions which are currently located at Parkside, with enhanced and expanded custody facilities, including the provision of 24 cells.
The hub will also serve as a base for the neighbourhood policing team for the Milton and local area, response policing teams, investigators, offender management teams, public protection officers and specialist teams for dealing with child and adult abuse. The full details of the functions that will be accommodated at the new station, and how the functions all work together operationally, is included within the Full Business Case for the project.
Will we be able to report crimes at the Milton hub?
There will not be an enquiries desk at the hub, although the neighbourhood policing team for Milton and the surrounding area will be based here. As part of our commitment to retaining a police station in the city centre, we will retain a public facing enquiry desk in the new city centre station.
Members of the public are able to report crime through a number of methods, including dialling 999 (in case of emergency) or 101 (non-emergency enquiries). You can also report crime online via the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website (https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/Report-Shared/Report-a-crime).
How will you be making this scheme more environmentally friendly?
The positive environmental performance of the project is demonstrated by meeting the specific planning policy requirements.
Specific areas of focus are:
- use less energy through the high performance of the building fabric and HVAC systems efficient energy supply
- use of a Building Management System to monitor and control building operating systems
- renewable energy use, including solar PV and solar thermal
- Carbon emissions – reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through the use of low carbon technologies, including heating and lighting systems
- Water use and conservation
- Sustainable site drainage
In addition to the electric charging spaces that are indicated on the plans in the virtual exhibition, we are also future proofing by installing the infrastructure that will allow us to expand the number of EV spaces as the proportion of electric vehicles within the fleet, and for private vehicles, increases in the future.
Will this cause more traffic to be on the roads?
Due to standard police rotas, the impact on normal “rush hour” traffic on this network (7:45am-8.45am; 4:30pm-5:30pm Monday to Friday) is expected to be negligible. The ‘peak’ hour for traffic at the proposed site will be between 2:00 and 3:00pm, with an estimated 23 trips to the site and 29 trips departing the site.
Milton is a quiet village. Will there be more noise, for example from sirens, as a result of this development?
It is rare that a police car would leave the site on a blue light and with sirens on. This is because uniformed officers tend to leave the site in their car at the start of their shift and not return until the end, except for reasons such as bringing a suspect into custody or other exceptional circumstance (which would not require a blue light or siren). Therefore, only in extreme circumstances would there be likely to be increased siren noise, unless an officer is passing through the area on a blue light.
The hub building itself will include sound insulation to ensure that noise is minimised, and our assessments have concluded that there will be no significant adverse impact on the amenity of local residents.
What impacts will this development have on local wildlife?
We have conducted two ecology surveys of the site over the past two years, and a final report will be submitted alongside the planning application.
We will also be enhancing the site through the introduction of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS), employing good practice in hedgerow management, and including bat and bird boxes in the completed scheme.
What will happen to the offenders after they are released?
All detainees that are released from police custody are subject to a risk assessment prior to release. Where a person is classed as a vulnerable, it is often the case that the person is released in the company of family/friends/ appropriate adults/ legal advisors or other people responsible for their on-going welfare. Those remanded in custody as a result of appearing at a virtual court will be transported directly to prison or other secure accommodation by a contracted private security company as per our existing contracts.
With the growing use of virtual courts, it will sometimes be the case that those remanded in custody will be released directly from the new hub. This is already the case at Thorpe Wood and at Parkside, where people are released directly into the community – however, these will undergo the same risk assessments.
Therefore, no one will be released from the hub unless they have been subject to a pre-release risk assessment to mitigate any further risk to themselves or the wider community.
How will this affect local response times?
This is entirely dependent on the location of responding police officers at the time of dispatch, and station location has limited bearing on this. The policing model does not mean that officers always respond from a station, they are often out and about within the community, so the response times should be unaffected.
A continued policing service will be maintained in the city centre so responses within the city centre should also remain unchanged.
Why we need to change our service
Why do you need to change the service?
More information on the need for service change, and the new police hub, can be read on the Need for Service Change page of this website.
Why can you not improve the Parkside station?
Parkside was constructed in the 1960s and is beyond its functional age as a police facility. It requires significant investment to keep the building operational in the mid- to long-term and does not have the space to provide the additional cells required.
Essential maintenance was completed at Parkside in 2014, but this was only intended to extend the useable lifespan of the buildings for up to five years. Further maintenance would provide a short-term benefit only due to the necessity to relocate and provide sufficient custody facilities.
Will this change how crime is dealt with in Cambridgeshire?
Calls for response and investigations teams will be responded to in the same way as they are now: by flexing the responses and resources across the whole county with the support of our collaborated Joint Protective Services.
Would it not be more expensive to run two police stations?
There are cost implications of any upgrade to Parkside, which would require ongoing maintenance and refurbishments over a number of years and would not meet our needs for modern-day policing. While the creation of a new police hub and station in the city centre will require capital expenditure, there are efficiencies that will be made through good design and better working practices. In addition, the city centre police station will not be as large as the Milton hub or Parkside at present, so its operating costs will be significantly less.
Cambridgeshire has a growing population, will that mean an increased need for police services?
We anticipate that an increased demand for policing will follow due to projected growth of the population and housing. This will include a demand on facilities we have, such as the number of cells available to deal with detainees in custody. We need to enhance our service and facilities to respond to this need.
How is this consultation different to the 2019 survey on the site in Milton?
This consultation follows the survey in June 2019 and provides more detail on the proposals for the new police station. This includes updating you on the changes to the proposals since July 2019, as well as being guided by feedback from the residents of Cambridgeshire from our consultation on the principle of service change in February 2020.
How can I find out the results of the service change consultation?
Cambridge city centre station
Will you definitely be providing a new station in Cambridge city centre?
Yes, we are committed to providing a new police station in the city centre. This will focus on the priorities received in feedback from last year’s public survey:
- Help to deliver city centre policing through our community policing team, who will be based at this station
- Maintain a public facing enquiry office for you to access information, speak to officers, and report crime
- Providing an overseas registration service at the station when required
The new station will provide the full facilities required to support our neighbourhood teams and our public facing enquiry office. For the public, while the station will not be the same size as the current Parkside station, there should be no change to the service they currently experience at Parkside.
Where will the new city centre location be?
We are currently reviewing the availability of sites in Cambridge city centre that would be suitable for the new city centre station, including looking at how best we can work with our public sector partners. We are aiming for the new police station to be within the same area as Parkside Police Station, however, this depends on available options for sites in the city centre.
Will the station be open to the public, and when?
Yes, we expect that the public enquiry office will be open between 8am and 8pm Monday to Sunday excluding bank holidays, with out of hours contact provided by an external phone. This is the same as the current service at Parkside.
Why are you not consulting on the new city centre station?
This consultation is to support the planning application for the Milton site, so is focussed on the details of that planning application. We have included an update on how we are working on proposals for the city centre station in the virtual exhibition (Board 8).
Will this mean a reduction in the number of police officers in Cambridge city centre?
No, there will be no reduction in police officers as a result of these proposals. In fact, the enhanced facilities, including the additional cells at the hub should enable us to have officers return to patrol more quickly, rather than spending time transporting detainees 40 miles to Peterborough or King’s Lynn.
Why will this make us safer in Cambridge city centre?
Your safety is our top priority. Our proposals respond to the changing nature of crime and policing in Cambridgeshire alongside local population growth. Our current operation doesn’t allow us to fully respond to today’s needs. New facilities are needed to help improve our response and service to you, without them tackling crime will become more difficult.
Why are you not providing all police services in Parkside at the new city centre station?
Parkside was constructed in the 1960s, when technology meant it was more effective to have all services in one place. However, given technological advances we can operate just as effectively, if not more so, in separate specialist buildings.
In addition, there has been a significant increase in traffic in Cambridge city centre over the past 60 years, which means that often our officers are delayed in traffic with detainees or unable to respond to out-of-city centre enquiries. Therefore, it makes sense to keep those policing services that need to be in the city centre there, and relocate those that do not need to be.
The new station needs to be easily accessible by public transport
The new station will be in the city centre and therefore will be fully served by public transport as the existing station is.
About the consultation
Why have you not consulted on the location of the new hub rather than just returning to Milton?
We have conducted a rigorous assessment of potential sites and it would not have been feasible to allow the public to pick the new location due to the limited number of sites and the specific needs of Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
Why did you hold an online consultation rather than waiting until the COVID-19 pandemic is over?
While it is unfortunate that we are unable to hold face-to-face consultation events at this time we do need to progress the planning application for the site in order to ensure that Cambridgeshire Constabulary has the tools and facilities it needs to fully respond to today’s needs. The longer we wait, the longer it will take to provide these facilities.
Despite the ‘lockdown’ rules being eased from the 4th July 2020, for a number of reasons, including the ability to ensure safe conditions for both the project team and the public, we are still unable to hold events in public to get your views. We are also aware that many people might not feel comfortable attending a physical event. Therefore, we have developed a programme for consultation that ensures that we are able to listen to your views while maintaining the safety of everyone involved. In addition, this form of consultation meant that the information was publicly available throughout the month of July, rather than at only specific dates and times, and there will be multiple opportunities for you to ask questions about the proposals, rather than just at a few events.
How long did you consult for?
The consultation was held throughout July 2020, starting at 9am on Wednesday 1st July 2020 and closing at 5pm on Friday 31st July 2020. Comments submitted after that time cannot be considered so do please get your comments in before the deadline.
Can I actually speak to a person to give my feedback?
Yes, we are providing a number of opportunities for the public to give their comments, and to discuss our proposals with members of the project team.
Alongside being able to call our information line (01223 827 124) or email the project team (via firstname.lastname@example.org) we held a number of ‘live chats’ on the project website. These took place at the following times:
- Saturday 4th July – 10am to 12pm
- Thursday 9th July – 5pm to 7pm
- Wednesday 15th July – 12pm to 2pm
- Tuesday 21st July – 5pm to 7pm
- Saturday 25th July – 10am to 12pm
- Thursday 30th July – 12pm to 2pm
How can those who do not have a computer participate or find out more information about the proposals?
We appreciate that not everyone has access to a computer. Those members of the public who would like to receive a copy of the information displayed in the virtual exhibition and a feedback form can call the project team on 01223 827 124. These details are available on the leaflet sent to approximately 8,500 properties across Milton and the surrounding villages, as well as being available on the noticeboard at Milton post office.
If you know someone who would like a paper copy of the information and feedback form please do not hesitate to get in touch via the details above or the Contact Us page.
Why is this public consultation necessary? Can my previous comments in June 2019 not be applied to this consultation?
We have already considered the comments as part of the OPCC survey in June 2019, and made a number of changes to the proposals. The proposals we are showing in this consultation are different to those of June 2019, and to ensure your comments are reported in context you should respond to this consultation even if you have previously made comments.
What happens if I miss the deadline for the consultation?
Responses need to be made within the consultation period (1st July to 31st July 2020).
Do I have to give my personal information when making a comment?
Yes please, we cannot accept anonymous responses. Your personal data will be handled in line with the GDPR regulations and will only be used to monitor where responses have come from.
How do I keep up to date with the project?
You can register your interest in being updated on planning application via the Contact Us page.
Next steps and further information
What happens after the consultation closes?
Once the consultation has concluded we will review all feedback received and, where possible or viable, amend the scheme accordingly. Throughout August and September we will undertake further work on the proposals before submitting the planning application at the end of September 2020.
When and how will I see the results of this consultation?
As part of the planning application for the hub we will be submitting a Statement of Community Involvement, which will set out the feedback we have received and how this has been considered. This will be publicly available via the South Cambridgeshire District Council planning portal once the application has been validated.
Can I get a copy of the document in an alternative format?
Yes. If you need copies of any of the information in large print, Braille or in another language, please contact us using the details outlined above.