We're now part of the York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority

004/2015 – Proposal to purchase new HQ premises in Northallerton, and dispose of the current HQ site at Newby Wiske – 08 June 2015

Executive Summary and recommendation

The current North Yorkshire Police HQ at Newby Wiske Hall has significant limitations in respect of accessibility, facilities and accommodation, and is costly to maintain at over £1 million per year.  With those disadvantages in mind, the Commissioner and North Yorkshire Police have been committed to moving NYP’s HQ for some time. Given that a significant proportion of the workforce lives locally however, it is advantageous to retain an HQ location in the district of Hambleton.

The North Yorkshire Police estates team has been exploring possible alternatives for an HQ site, which are better suited to operational needs, and which take into account some wider developments within the police service that impact upon accommodation requirements.  These include:

  • A refreshed Estates Strategy, which is focused on long-term affordability and putting people before buildings.
  • Opportunities to collaborate with other public and third sector partners (including the potential for locating some functions at Cleveland Police’s new Community Safety Hub at Hemlington on the North Yorkshire border)
  • Improvements in information and communications technology, which will allow the workforce to operate more flexibly across different locations, including officers working in communities with limited need to return to a police station

A number of opportunities have been identified to relocate functions that are currently based at Newby Wiske, to other parts of the North Yorkshire Police estate.  However, even when these opportunities have been fully exploited, there is still a need for accommodation capable of housing the substantive HQ workforce.

An opportunity has arisen to purchase the Alverton Court building in Northallerton, and the surrounding site (Appendix 1: Location and images).   Once suitable fitting-out had been completed, this site would be able to accommodate the requisite HQ functions from Newby Wiske.  Whilst the purchase and fitting-out would require an initial capital investment (which would be partially off-set by the sale of the Newby Wiske site), significant savings in building maintenance and ongoing running costs would be achieved.

Over a 30 year period, the move to Alverton Court should save North Yorkshire Police no less than £4 million.  Depending on the relocation of other functions this figure could be substantially higher. Compared to the previous proposal of building a new site at South Kilvington, the proposals outlined above would cost North Yorkshire Police up to £12 million less.

The total cost, including purchase price, of the move to Alverton Court specifically is estimated to be under £7 million.  The additional relocation of other functions currently housed at Newby Wiske amounts to under £6 million, meaning the total cost of all the functions based at Newby Wiske would be £12.7 million.  The purchase price of Alverton Court will be made available once the legal process has been completed.

Alverton Court was previously considered as an option, but discounted due to operational requirements. However, demand analysis as part of the new Operational Policing Model evidenced reducing demand for custody, which meant Alverton Court could be reconsidered as a potential new HQ without the need for a new custody suite.

It is therefore recommended that the Commissioner give approval to purchase the Alverton Court site in Northallerton, subject to due diligence.  It is also recommended that the Commissioner give approval to progress the necessary refurbishments to make the site suitable for North Yorkshire Police’s purpose, and to dispose of the current HQ facility at Newby Wiske. Finally it is recommended that the Commissioner approves the overall budget for this project at £12.7m, which includes the costs associated with the potential additional relocations of particular services that result from the move from the current HQ, and also approve that the borrowing limits of the organisation can be increased by up to £5m.  However, this £5m will only be drawn down as and when required, depending on specifics of each separate relocation.  For example, if renting property is seen as better value for money for a particular department then limited capital will be needed, reducing the amount of borrowing needed.  

Overall, this decision would lead to a saving of at least £4 million over plans to stay at Newby Wiske, and costs approximately £12 million less compared to previous relocation proposals.

Police and Crime Commissioner decision: Approved

Signature: signature
Date: 08 June 2015
Title: Police and Crime Commissioner

Part 1 – Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

  1. Introduction and background 

Alverton Court, in Northallerton, was built in 1999.  It provides approximately 5,100m2 of accommodation over three floors.  The building is owned by an investment company, and was previously occupied by the Rural Payments Agency, who vacated the building in February 2014.  The building is centrally based in Northallerton, and has well-developed transport links.  It is walking distance (0.7m) from the main Northallerton train station.  This site has been identified as a suitable replacement for the current North Yorkshire Police HQ site at Newby Wiske.

  1. Matters for consideration

Negotiations and timeline
It should be noted that there has been considerable interest in the Alverton Court site, and the owner has been in advanced negotiations with other potential leaseholders/buyers. The owner’s preferred option is to dispose of the property as a whole, which favours North Yorkshire Police, but negotiations would need to progress with some urgency.  If approved, the purchase procedure would begin immediately, and a move to formal contract signing could be achieved within three months, subject to successful completion of due diligence checks.

Suitability of accommodation
In order to determine suitability, high-level plans have been drawn up with regard to the space requirements for the HQ relocation.  This follows the decision not to build a new custody facility and continue to use the current facilities in Northallerton.  These plans show that the accommodation is sufficient for the HQ workforce, together with the associated requirements of meeting rooms, refreshment areas, toilet facilities etc.  Detailed schematic drawings showing exact desk spaces have not yet been produced.

The Commissioner is asked to note that the car parking facilities at Alverton Court are limited to 170 spaces (compared with the 440 spaces available at Newby Wiske).  There is a public car park within a few hundred metres of the building that can take over 200 vehicles, nonetheless there is a potential impact on parking in the locality. The new building is however more centrally located, with around a fifth of the workforce, that is currently based at Newby Wiske, living within a mile of Alverton Court, and it has better public transport links. When this is combined with future organisational developments, around both mobile and agile working, there are several options to accommodate the reduction in the specific number of parking spaces that this site has in comparison to Newby Wiske and minimise any impact on the surrounding area.

Disposal of Newby Wiske
If Alverton Court is purchased, the current HQ site at Newby Wiske would be surplus to requirements and could be sold when practicable.  The current receipts estimated from the sale of the property are factored into the overall business case, however the amounts and timescales actually achieved will be dependent on the specific options available for the site, as well as due regard to planning regulations.

Further Estates Implications
The proposed re-provision of most HQ functions from Newby Wiske to Alverton Court is only part of the proposed solution. The project plans at this stage also include several other moves that are subject to further development and staff consultation, with the aim to ensure the most appropriate functions are delivered from the new HQ. At this stage there are additional moves required as part of the project, which, in itself, is an integral part of the wider Estates Strategy. One of these is the previously agreed joint data centre that is being developed with Cleveland Police, and is costed as part of this decision within the £12.7m budget.

In committing to the move to Alverton Court the PCC is, in effect, committing to the possibility that each of these relocations are also required. The business case has therefore been built on several relocations being required, in addition to the move from Newby Wiske to Alverton Court. The total Capital outlay for the whole project, including those additional relocations, is currently projected to be £12.7m.

While most of these additional relocations are very early in the development and planning phase, the PCC is asked to approve that the organisation can work within the overall capital budget of £12.7m which is expected to be needed for the entire scheme as outlined in the Decision Notice summary. Updates and further Decision Notices will be developed if required. While the purchase price of Alverton Court has been negotiated and agreed, should the PCC choose to progress, the costs of the other relocations are at various points of development, each will be assessed and challenged to ensure value for money is achieved.

To fund this overall project, the PCC may need to borrow £5m. The remaining funds will be met from the reserves the PCC holds for Capital Development and Investment and also from the projected sales proceeds from Newby Wiske. The PCC is therefore asked to approve that the current borrowing limits, set out within the Treasury Management and Prudential Indicators report, which was approved by the PCC in February 2015, can increase by £5m. Any actual borrowing will be taken out in line with the cash needs of the organisation and will require prior approval of the PCC’s CFO. The costs associated with this funding have been incorporated into the financial analysis of this project. 

Contribution to Police and Crime Plan outcomes
The recommendations in this Decision Notice are offered on the basis that they will fully support the Police and Crime Plan priorities, in that they will allow the organisation to configure its resources more effectively, in alignment with the principles of “Transforming the Organisation”.

  1. Consultations carried out 

The content of this paper has been informed by:

  • DCC Madgwick – ACPO Lead
  • Richard Flint – Head of Estates, Logistics & Technology
  • Sudeep Chatterjee – ICT Manager
  • Jonathan Garrett – Estates Manager
  • T/Ch Supt Lisa Winward – OPM & Evolve
  • Supt Phil Cain – Operational Estates Lead
  1. Financial Implications/Value for money

In terms of costs, the current HQ at Newby Wiske is expensive to run, with the current revenue budget being £861k per annum. In addition to this, given the nature of the buildings on the site and the site itself, there is a projected 10 year known maintenance requirement of £3.6m.  This equates to over £1 million per year being spent on the current HQ site at Newby Wiske.  Also, this does not take into account the potential risks, given the nature of the main building at Newby Wiske, that significant unknown work and therefore costs will materialise over the coming years adding significantly to the known costs of maintaining the current HQ.

The known costs, along with projections for staying at Newby Wiske for the next 30 years, taking into account reasonable assumptions around inflation, estimate the costs of staying at £54m.

Similar calculations have been undertaken for the move to Alverton Court, where associated running costs are forecast to be £550k per annum. The overall calculations also take into account the data centre utility costs, the costs of repayment and interest associated with the borrowing expected to be needed as a result of this project, and the projected costs of the additional relocations required. In total the 30 year cost for the move to Alverton Court and the associated relocations is forecast to be £50m.  This is a £4 million saving when compared to staying at the current HQ site.

It is important to realise that, while the project is forecast to save money, around £4m, over the 30 years mentioned above, these savings will not be delivered in a uniform way. Therefore as currently modelled and financed these proposals are expected to cost more during years 1 to 3, when the PCC is likely to own both Newby Wiske and Alverton Court, while fit-out of the new building, transition and sales take place.

The savings mentioned so far are expected to be the minimum that are likely from this project. There are likely to be further opportunities, in terms of wider estates rationalisation, that may be possible as a result of the move to Alverton Court. The more flexible and suitable accommodation that Alverton Court provides, in comparison to Newby Wiske, when combined with moving towards more mobile and agile working practices should enable Alverton Court to be able to accommodate staff working in buildings elsewhere within the estate. This should therefore enable further savings to be delivered. This will be considered separately as part of the wider estates strategy and plans in line with the changing needs of the organisation.

The wider estates opportunities, combined with better suited accommodation, which will enable agile and mobile working, aligned with the medium and longer term savings from the initial project provides a sound value for money proposal for the PCC to consider and one that the PCC CFO supports. 

  1. Legal Implications 

Having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, the Acting Force Solicitor and Head of Legal Services is satisfied that this report does not ask the PCC for North Yorkshire to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.

The legal work for the conveyancing for the purchase of Alverton Court, the disposal of Newby Wiske and any necessary legal property work associated with the connected projects will be coordinated within business as usual.

  1. Equality Implications 

These to be assessed within implementation/building design plans and the consultation process involved.

  1. Human Resources Implications

This proposal provides a real opportunity to enhance the well being of our workforce through the design of modern workspaces and the development of work styles and practices that promote mobile and agile working and facilitate cross-departmental communication and collaboration.  It is recognised that this proposal would require members of the workforce to work out of different premises, therefore the transition and the timely engagement and consultation with the workforce and their representatives would need to be managed effectively.

  1. Public Access to information 

The Police and Crime Commissioner wishes to be as open and transparent as possible about the decisions he/she takes or are taken in his/her name. All decisions taken by the Commissioner will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

As a general principle, the Commissioner expects to be able to publish all decisions taken and all matters taken into account and all advice received when reaching the decision. Part 1 of this Notice will detail all information which the Commissioner will disclose into the public domain. The decision and information in Part 1 will be made available on the NYPCC web site within 2 working days of approval.

Only where material is properly classified as restricted under the GPMS or if that material falls within the description at 2(2) of The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 will the Commissioner not disclose decisions and/or information provided to enable that decision to be made. In these instances, Part 2 of the Form will be used to detail those matters considered to be restricted.  Information in Part 2 will not be published.

Part 2

Is there a Part 2 to this Notice – Yes 

If Yes, what is the reason for restriction – Commercially sensitive

Originating Officer Declaration

  Name      (Collar Number) Date of completion (√)
Head of DepartmentHas reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities. Joanna Carter(Chief Executive Officer)3594 09/06/2015
Legal AdviceLegal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge or such risk is outlined in Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice. Jane WintermeyerT/Force Solicitor & Head of Legal Services  3840  06/06/2015
Financial AdviceThe PCC CFO has been consulted on this proposal, for which budgetary provision already exists or is to be made in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice. Michael Porter(Commissioner’s CFO)4317


Equalities AdviceEither there is considered to be minimal impact or the impact is outlined in Part1 or Part2 of this Notice.  Author to complete as Equalities matters are mainstreamed within departments. Richard Flint(Head of Logistics ,Estates & Technology)5960 08/06/2015
HR AdviceHR advice has been sought in relation to any people related matters  Rosie Holmes(Head of HR and Training)4647 08/06/15


I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decisionSignature:   Richard Flint                       Date: 08/06/2015

Appendix 2 – Alverton Court

Alverton Court - building image Alverton Court - Northallerton map Alverton Court - Aerial view Alverton Court - map


Published on