Chipping Norton town councillors have discussed embryonic plans to transform the town’s Victorian police station building into a community hub.
Town mayor Mike Tysoe – recently nominated for a second year in office – has said councillors have discussed the possibility of buying the listed London Road station for the community when it is sold by Thames Valley Police as part of a cost-cutting exercise next year.
Cllr Tysoe said: “The station isn’t the right building for the police, but it’s in the right place for the community.
“It’s a listed building of extreme interest because it’s the last remaining purpose built Cotswold stone police station, dating to 1836.”
He continued: “Inside it’s a rabbit warren and I can quite understand why the police don’t want it – but it is a fantastic building.
“It has the most amazing vaulted ceiling and rounded beams and has quite a lot of possibilities, perhaps as a museum or as a community centre.
“You could also do something very nice with the stable building at the back, perhaps turning it into a nice, new two-storey building for the police.”
Councillors discussed the building’s future at February’s council meeting and many expressed enthusiasm for a council-led development, but Cllr Tysoe said the necessary funding would have to be secured. He added it was not clear if Chipping Norton residents would support spending significant sums on the scheme, but said he thought they would be in favour of ‘saving’ the historic building and pledged to hold a public meeting to discuss residents’ ideas.
Other mooted ideas have included transforming the station into a cafe or restaurant, but Cllr Tysoe said any plans were at a “very embryonic” stage.
Front-of-the-house police services moved from the station to the Guildhall on Horse Fair in January this year, although the station remains operational.
Thames Valley Police announced last year it would sell the police station in 2015 to save the force £70,000 per annum.