"No plans to close Chester-le-Street police station", says force following rumours (From The Advertiser Series)
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"No plans to close Chester-le-Street police station", says force following rumours
2:45pm Monday 16th September 2013 in News
POLICE have scotched rumours that they are moving out of Chester-le-Street.
Residents were concerned that the main police station in Newcastle Road could be about to close.
Last Friday’s public meeting against the closure of the Crown Post Office in Front Street, and the franchising of the services it provides, also heard fears voiced about the loss of the station.
According to the rumours, the policing of Chester-le-Street and the surrounding villages would be done from Durham.
But Durham Constabulary has said that it has no plans to shut the facility.
Some staff are being moved there in a shake-up prompted by the planned relocation of force headquarters at Aykley Heads and work is being carried out to the building.
Michelle March, the force’s Head of Estates, said: “I can confirm that we are not closing Chester-le-Street.
“We have let a contract to Interserve to refurbish and fit out the premises ready to relocate some staff from the existing HQ before the new one is built.
“Interserve started on site August 27 and are not programmed to finish until the end of April 2014.
“The town’s Civic Centre, which is next to the police station, is due to close."
Durham County Council plans to open a customer access point in The Hub, which is operated in the middle of Front Street by Cestria Community Housing.
Meanwhile, North Durham Labour MP Kevan Jones says he will back a campaign to fight for the post office – said to be losing money - to continue in its present form.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) plans to mobilise opposition to the move, which would see the current building, which is rented from the Royal Mail, closed and services provided from a franchisee’s stores.
Mr Jones said the public should be involved in the decision-making on the future of the post office from the beginning and not just consulted when managers had a picked a franchisee.
“The process the Post Office are going through appears to be a bit of sham, a fait accompli and that people will be given the answer once negotiations have taken place. It is the wrong way round,” he said.
The Post Office has said the franchisee will have to pass a stringent test and that it will listen to the points made during formal consultation when a preferred person is chosen.
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