On the morning of Friday 1 June, Ron Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, met the Town Mayor of Barnard Castle, Cllr Sandra Moorhouse, and members of the town council, to agree a way forward for the previously disputed old police station site at Bede Kirk.
The site had been earmarked for development by Mr Hogg, in order to raise much-needed funds for Durham Constabulary, but a strong campaign by local residents resulted in a successful application for Village Green status.
Speaking this morning, Ron Hogg congratulated the members of the Council on their successful campaign, and pledged to work with members and residents on the future of the site.
In a joint statement, the Town Mayor and Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said:
“This morning’s meeting was a giant step forward. We acknowledged that as representatives of the people, we have a duty to work together for the benefit of all our communities. We reflected on our previous differing positions on the future of Bede Kirk, and gained a better mutual understanding of the challenges we are facing.
“We further agreed four next steps that we would take.
“First, we agreed to work closely together on the future of the site at Bede Kirk, and on community safety issues in Barnard Castle more generally.
“Secondly, the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner has decided that his preferred option for the remainder of the site that has not been designated a Village Green, is to put it up for sale for development. This would ensure that some capital receipt from the site is available for Durham Constabulary, and enables him to comply with his legal duty to secure best value from his assets. The Town Council respects this position, and agreed to support the process as appropriate.
“Thirdly, we agreed that the Police should not be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of Bede Kirk Village Green, as this would require resources to be spent that should be available for local policing. We agreed that the long term protection and enjoyment of the space would best be supported if it were the responsibility of local people, and we agreed to work to find a solution to give effect to this.
“Fourthly, we agreed we would hold a meeting for local residents to discuss next steps. We will be looking to schedule this as soon as is practical.”