Durham Police faces £400,000 bill to move listed radio mast

Sir Ove Arup's police mast at Durham Police HQ

Sir Ove Arup's police mast at Durham Police HQ

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Durham)

A CASH-strapped constabulary which is demanding taxpayers pay more for their policing is forking out up to £400,000 to shift a defunct 1960s radio mast.

Durham Police originally wanted to knock down the 150ft-high needle-like structure when it moves from its crumbling 1960s-built headquarters to a new £15m purpose-built base later this year.

But English Heritage, the City of Durham Trust and others cried foul, calling for the grade II-listed mast, designed by Brutalist engineer Sir Ove Arup – the creator of the Syndey Opera House – to be saved.

As a result, the police agreed to move it a few yards down the road and make it part of its new HQ.

It has now emerged that will cost up to £400,000.

But police chiefs say it still makes sense, because leaving it where it is would knock £1m off the value of the current headquarters site, which is to be sold for upmarket housing.

Durham Police assistant chief officer Gary Ridley said: “We can’t demolish the structure so we’re going to have to spend somewhere in the region of £300,000 to £400,000 to get it moved outside of the new police headquarters.

“But by moving the structure it increases the capital value of the land, which means more money for policing in Durham and Darlington.”

The bill comes as the force faces stringent Government funding cuts and is imposing a two per cent precept rise.

But Douglas Pocock, honorary secretary of the City of Durham Trust, said: “It (the mast) is a slender needle rising from a tripod.

“It’s a fine sculptural form, so much so that English Heritage listed it and there are very, very few modern buildings that are listed.”

The new police headquarters is due to open in August.

The long-running project was also held up by the suspected presence of great crested newts, which delayed work by four months and cost the taxpayer more than £100,000 even though none of the protected amphibians was eventually found on site.

Sir Ove Arup also designed Durham’s Kingsgate Bridge, where a bust of the late engineer was unveiled in 2011.

Comments (8)

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6:15pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Jan Van-Winkel says...

I'm beginning to think I'm reverse parked in a parallel universe.

But it's only money so, what's the problem - the public sector appears to be awash with it in all areas except remuneration of it's workforce (upper and middle management excepted).
I'm beginning to think I'm reverse parked in a parallel universe. But it's only money so, what's the problem - the public sector appears to be awash with it in all areas except remuneration of it's workforce (upper and middle management excepted). Jan Van-Winkel
  • Score: 8

6:50pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Pete Sakes says...

Durham Police do not face a £400, 000 bill. It is the poor old tax payer who faces a £400,000 bill. Of course if Durham Police's Chief Constable is pulling the money out of "his own" pocket I stand corrected.
Durham Police do not face a £400, 000 bill. It is the poor old tax payer who faces a £400,000 bill. Of course if Durham Police's Chief Constable is pulling the money out of "his own" pocket I stand corrected. Pete Sakes
  • Score: 12

6:51pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Voice-of-reality says...

If I were buying a new upmarket house in the new development I would pay extra for a grade II listed garden ornament - there are not enough follies around. It stirkes me, that with newts and a grade II listing, the police should have done a little more investigating before seeking new premises. Well done, Douglas.
If I were buying a new upmarket house in the new development I would pay extra for a grade II listed garden ornament - there are not enough follies around. It stirkes me, that with newts and a grade II listing, the police should have done a little more investigating before seeking new premises. Well done, Douglas. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 9

7:13pm Tue 25 Feb 14

sineater says...

Don't b lame the police for the cost,blame the idiots who got a presevation order on a radio mast that has no practical use anymore .
Don't b lame the police for the cost,blame the idiots who got a presevation order on a radio mast that has no practical use anymore . sineater
  • Score: 3

8:51pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Voice-of-reality says...

The preservation order was there before the police sought new premises - therefore the police should have expected there to be a cost involved. If the Police were not moving - there would be no cost - and the decision to move was made by the Police - so I will continue to put the blame at their door.
The preservation order was there before the police sought new premises - therefore the police should have expected there to be a cost involved. If the Police were not moving - there would be no cost - and the decision to move was made by the Police - so I will continue to put the blame at their door. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 4

9:47pm Tue 25 Feb 14

DURHAM CITY says...

no wonder the council tax is going up
no wonder the council tax is going up DURHAM CITY
  • Score: 6

5:23am Wed 26 Feb 14

BMD says...

Advertise it on E-bay with buyer to collect
Advertise it on E-bay with buyer to collect BMD
  • Score: 2

10:48am Wed 26 Feb 14

sineater says...

The problem is all the a**e kissing to Ov arup, all his designs have no merit whatsoever and should be pulled down.
The problem is all the a**e kissing to Ov arup, all his designs have no merit whatsoever and should be pulled down. sineater
  • Score: 1

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