Row over bus stop blocking police 999 exit in Plymouth
POLICE and council chiefs have become entangled in a row over a bus stop outside the new Devonport police station.
The £3.3million station at the junction of Chapel Street and Fore Street has already courted controversy from locals who have bitterly complained the station was not open to the public.
The three-storey building replaced the cramped Marlborough Street station and opened in October last year. At the time it was set to be the home to the neighbourhood policing team as well as the Devonport and West Local Investigation Team, which had been temporarily based at Charles Cross Police Station.
However, following cutbacks, Devon and Cornwall Police decided to move a section of its response officers from their former base at Plympton Police Station to the new Devonport station.
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As a result, the force has now found a bus stop parked just feet from its main car park gates to be problematic.
A spokesman for the force said the location of the bus stop – which has existed long before the station was built – was "not ideal".
He said the force had petitioned Plymouth City Council to find a working solution.
The police spokesman warned: "There is the potential for the exit and rapid deployment of a police unit to be temporarily hindered.
"We have been in contact with our partners at the council to discuss the possibility of moving the bus stop. We are hopeful that in the not-too-distant future we are able to reach a mutually satisfactory solution."
However, council chiefs have said the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority – which made the initial planning application but has now been disbanded – was fully aware of the location of the bus stop and at that time raised no concerns. A council spokesman said: "They were happy to proceed with building their site with the bus stop being retained in its current position. We have since received correspondence from the police enquiring about the possibility of moving the bus stop.
"Due to the existing on-street parking used by residents and businesses, which is already limited, there are no possible options for a new location.
"Due to the frequency that this bus stop is used, and the length of time it takes to drop off or pick up passengers, the likelihood of a conflict between buses parked at the stop and emergency vehicles leaving the police station under blue-light conditions would be minimal. We have received no complaints regarding this."