PLANS for a new £20m headquarters for Cleveland Police could go ahead as early as October this year, The Northern Echo understands.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has gone out to tender on the site at Hemlington Grange in Middlesbrough with expressions of interest from construction companies being invited.

But Mr Coppinger said last night that he was weighing up the cost and would not go ahead with a new headquarters unless the proceeds from selling the current headquarters site matched the price of a new build.

Plans for the building, at Hemlington Grange in Middlesbrough, were first unveiled in 2010 but were later put on hold until Mr Coppinger was in post and could decide whether to go ahead.

Now the PCC is looking for a contractor for the design and build of the new 5,000 sq m building that should provide open-plan office space and function suites and 350 parking spaces on the unoccupied Hemlington site, where housing is also being developed.

The current police headquarters in Ladgate Lane is half-empty and not fit-for-purpose, having been a former British Steel laboratory building.

Mr Coppinger told The Northern Echo: “I have asked that we go out to tender as part of an exercise to ascertain the cost of building a new headquarters.

“This will be set against income from the likely sale of Ladgate Lane and a detailed proposal will be presented to me later this year.”

But the Construction News reported that the PCC was hoping to see construction start in October and be complete by the end of 2015.

Tenders will have to be submitted by June 20, when the PCC will draw up a shortlist of two or three.

It is estimated the build will cost between £8 and £20m.