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Ref: PCC/D/2024/05

Executive Summary

The lease for the police premises in the Walshes, Stourport-on-Severn has expired and requires renewing. It has been established by West Mercia Police Chief Officers that an operational policing presence at this location needs to be retained in the area, as not having a workspace in the Walshes area would negatively affect the policing of the locality.

The Walshes sits within a high area of deprivation within a housing estate. There are frequent community issues which benefit from SNT resources being based in the community.

OPCC Estates has negotiated terms for a new 5-year lease with the Community Housing Group Ltd. The landlord is not able to offer the same terms for a renewal and requires rent to be paid for the premises. The landlord recognises the need for police presence in the community and wish to continue the collaboration between the two organisations. Thus, the rent has been agreed at the minimum the landlord is able to offer – £4,500 per annum.


For the PCC to approve and sign a new lease, to the annual costs of £4,500, with the Community Housing Group Ltd for the continued use of the premises currently used by the Safer Neighbourhood Team at The Walshes, Stourport-on-Severn.

Approval Of

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner

Signed: John Campion

Part 1 – Non-Confidential/Exempt Facts and Figures

Supporting Report

The Areley Kings & Riverside Safer Neighbourhood Team are currently based in a ground floor flat in a low-rise block in the Walshes. 36 Old Ford Walk, Stourport-On-Severn, DY13 0DW. The property is a 1-bed flat in a pedestrian area, developed in the 70s and is now owned by the Community Housing Group Ltd. The property is in a convenient location for the police and community and is in good condition. It comprises a hallway, a full bathroom suite, cleaner’s cupboard, kitchen, one large office and a small store.

West Mercia Police officers have been occupying the premises since 2009 under a 10-year lease. The lease has been expired since 2019 and the PCC has been holding over.

This is the only premises to the south of the River Severn, where West Mercia Police have officers based in Stourport. Due to the fact the lease is not in date, the Force has been consulted about the option of vacating or retaining the premises. West Mercia confirmed via Chief Officers, that the location is suitable for operational needs and should be retained. On that basis, OPCC Estates entered negotiations with the landlord for a new arrangement.

OPCC Estates have reviewed the open market advertisements for commercial premises in the area of Stourport to establish whether moving to an alternative location would be feasible, should the negotiations for a new lease for the existing premises be unsuccessful. Unfortunately, no suitable replacement premises were identified. The properties on the market are very few. Most are warehouses which are not suitable for the required use and are located on the outskirts of the town. Office premises are available north of the river but there is no need for additional police office there as West Mercia Police already occupy space in the Civic Centre.

The Walshes area is mostly residential and a substantial part of the neighbourhood is owned freehold by the Community Housing Group Ltd and is used for social housing. One location was inspected as a potential replacement premises – the Community Centre on Linden Avenue. Although the centre is 200 yards from the existing location, it cannot offer the Police their own workspace due to the size of the space and the existing use by the community.

The landlord, thus, agreed to offer a new 5-year lease under the condition that the PCC agrees to pay rent on the premises. The previous lease had a rent of £1 per annum if demanded but the landlord is no longer able to accept not receiving an income from this premises. The rent offered (£4,500 per annum) is equivalent to the rent the organisation would receive should they offer the premises as a dwelling to members of the local community. They confirmed this is the lowest rent they can offer to the PCC.

The proposed lease terms include a break clause – both parties will have the opportunity to dissolve the agreement with 1 months’ written notice two and a half years after the Commencement Date. The Landlord is to be responsible for funding and completing communal fire risks assessment, annual gas safety check and the 5-year electrical check of the block of flats, including the police premises. The PCC will be responsible for the payment of non-domestic rates, utilities (gas, electricity, and water supply), compliance (including fire safety) and health and safety in connection with the premises.

The proposed lease will be outside of the Landlord and Tenant 1954 Act and the PCC will not have security of tenure. This is important to note as the landlord is planning to develop the area in the next decade, unless delayed further. According to the Estates Strategy, the asset is to be retained until 2030 when the proposal is to surrender the lease and vacate the premises.

Strategic Considerations

This decision supports the following element(s) of the Safer West Mercia Plan:

  • Reforming West Mercia
  • Building a More Secure West Mercia
  • Reassuring West Mercia’s Communities

The decision supports the above listed objectives through the following:

• West Mercia manages its resources to maximise value, effectiveness, efficiency and meet demand.
• West Mercia Police will establish and maintain a clear, strong identity with its staff, public and partners.
• Ensure West Mercia’s estate delivers the facilities police and communities need, in the most effective, efficient way possible.
• Resources will be prioritised towards front-line services to the public.
• Ensure all communities have a voice that is heard within policing, crime, criminal justice, and community safety matters.
• Ensuring all communities can access their police service quickly and conveniently when they need to.

Benefits and their Realisation

Benefits include:

• The Police will be using an accessible location known to the local community.
• Retaining presence in the area ensures the continued provision of good visibility and does not impact response times to incidents in the area.
• The police will continue using established premises, this avoiding any costs associated with relocating


Chris O’Hara

Date: 30th August 2023

Financial and Treasurer Comments

The landlord has advised that they are not in the position to offer the same arrangements as the lapsed lease – £1 per annum rent if demanded. The proposed rent is equivalent to the rent they would receive from the flat if it were rented out as a residential dwelling.

The negotiated rent is £4,500 per annum which is all inclusive of all costs associated with the communal fire risks assessment, annual gas safety check and the 5-year electrical check of the premises. The proposal is for the PCC to remain responsible for the internal compliance, maintenance of the flat and reinstatement of fixtures, fittings or furniture which are damaged by the staff operating from the site. There is no change in the responsibilities of the PCC, compared to the previous lease arrangement so the running costs are projected to be in line with current spending.

A quote has been obtained in connection with the projected Legal costs for the PCC for signing this new lease. The estimation is £500-£1,500 but depends on the time incurred in completing the lease.

There will be no other costs associated with the lease renewal as the premises is already operational.

Signed: Treasurer

Date: 13th March 2024

Legal Considerations

By virtue of schedule 11, paragraph 14 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 the Police and Crime Commissioner may do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the functions of commissioner. That includes entering into contracts and other agreements (whether legally binding or not) and acquiring and disposing of property (including land).

Public Access to Information

Information in this form is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) and other legislation. Part 1 of this form will be made available on the West Mercia Commissioner’s website. Any facts and advice that should not be made automatically available on request are not included in Part 1 but instead in a separate Part 2 report.

Officer Approval

Deputy Chief Executive Officer


Date: 13th March 2024