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Report 11 of the 23 June 2011 meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee, seeks authority to redevelop the existing traffic garage facilities at Alperton, Brent to provide deployment facilities for operational policing.

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Proposals for redeveloping deployment facilities at Alperton traffic garage, Brent

Report: 11
Date: 23 June 2011
By: Director of Resources on behalf of the Commissioner


In support of MPA/MPS Estates Strategy and Corporate Real Estate (CRE) Principles, this report seeks authority to redevelop the existing traffic garage facilities at Alperton, Brent to provide deployment facilities for operational policing in support of CO and TP requirements and authority in principle to release Finchley Traffic Garage and West Drayton police station which, on completion of the Alperton redevelopment, will then be surplus to operational need.

A. Recommendations

That members

  1. Approve the redevelopment of Alperton Traffic Garage for future deployment/patrolling use noting that the use of the building will enable the release of other assets subsequently surplus to the estate;
  2. Approve expenditure of up to £10.8m as detailed at Exempt Appendix 1, for contract works and professional fees in connection with the development works, including decant, enabling works and temporary facilities as required;
  3. Note that the Construction Contract will be procured through the Improvement and Efficiency South East (IESE) 2nd generation framework model, as approved by MPA Finance Committee in September 2010;
  4. Approve the appointment of professional advisors and contractors through approved and compliant procurement routes (OGC and IESE/2) and delegate authority to the MPS through the approved scheme of delegation to approve the letting of contracts, within the requested project budget allocation.
  5. Note that procurement action for Alperton will be structured to provide the MPA with future options to enter into contracts for additional warehousing facilities under the CRE programme should the tender process demonstrate there is benefit to do so, and subject to further MPA funding approval, and
  6. Agree in principle that on completion of the project Finchley Traffic Garage (931 High Road, Finchley) and West Drayton Police Station will be surplus to operational use and can be released generating receipts of up to £12.25m in value, subject to further reports being presented to the MPA.

B. Supporting information

1. In Spring 2010, the MPS Management Board supported the development of the CRE approach to the provision of accommodation, and the focus on three key work strands, one of which was the warehousing and garaging estate. Working closely with CO, TP and HR the principles of providing a number of pan London corporate deployment centres for Borough and Regional use was developed, including the use of accommodation at Alperton Traffic Garage as a possible location for one such facility.

2. The MPA own the site in Alperton on a freehold basis. The existing building which dates from the early 1960’s, is technically and physically obsolete with associated high maintenance costs. Covering 1.85 acres with an operational building of c.1,920 square metres, the property accommodates c. 150 staff and c. 25 vehicles.

3. The site is located less than a mile north of the Hanger Lane junction of the A40 and A406 North Circular Road giving excellent access to the arterial road network in West London. Unusually for an industrial / warehousing area the site has a large supermarket opposite and is within half a mile of a tube station. The area is also well served by bus routes. The site is a good location for use as a regional deployment base for north-west London.

4. The CO Deployment Base Project (v.8 - February 2011) envisages the provision four outer London deployment bases, shared by various CO OCUs, with good access to the road network in each geographical quadrant of London. The key drivers of the Deployment Base Project are to reduce costs by streamlining the support functions including reducing the number of locations from which CO operate. The proposal to provide the north-west base at Alperton is supported by CO, with the associated closure of Finchley Traffic Garage. The new build facility at Alperton will provide accommodation for the CO OCUs presently based at Alperton (Traffic), Finchley Traffic Garage (TSG) and West Drayton Police Station (Dogs) and accessibility for TP teams.

5. It is proposed to demolish the existing buildings and construct a new warehouse type building with adjoining offices. The design will build upon the lessons learnt in the recent development of patrol bases for operational use. The new building of c. 4,800 square metres will provide open plan office accommodation together with locker rooms changing and rest facilities, a gym area, an armory, some internal garage space and associated facilities, and facilities for dog units. The building will be designed in such a way that it can be used in the most efficient and flexible way possible with very limited specialist facilities and will accommodate a minimum of c. 400 staff and c. 100 vehicles. The recent investment in fuel storage tanks and pumps at the site will be retained.

6. The facility will be capable of being used by other operational teams. Options to be fully developed include other CO OCUs with pan London responsibilities, BOCU units from Brent and Ealing boroughs and other pan London OCUs. The building will be suitable to support any changes to the local area policing model as a result of the current TP Development Programme.

7. On completion of the development, Finchley traffic garage and West Drayton police station will be surplus to operational need and can be released. The MPA own the freeholds of both sites.

8. Finchley traffic garage (931 High Road, Finchley), was acquired in 1966 and some of the existing buildings pre-date the acquisition. As with Alperton, the building has high maintenance costs and is poorly utilised due to configuration of the site and antiquated facilities. The earlier contractual commitment between the MPA and St George, which included the acquisition of flats at Beaufort Park, Hendon and the sale of Finchley Traffic Garage and Finchley Section House, was terminated in December 2010. The MPA are now in a position to dispose of the site at any time, subject to operational requirements.

9. The location and size of the Finchley Traffic Garage site is such that, in pan-London operational terms, it is not suitable for long term retention and redevelopment. The surrounding area is mainly residential in nature and redevelopment for the type of building proposed at Alperton would be in-appropriate and unlikely to be granted planning permission. Upon completion of the redevelopment of Alperton, the teams presently based at Finchley will be relocated to Alperton and other pan-London deployment/patrolling facilities and Finchley traffic garage will then be released. The SCD Realignment Programme will enable the consolidation of stolen vehicle crime storage currently at Alperton and Finchley along with similar storage provision at other locations. TP Burglary teams at Finchley will move to Hendon. The remaining operational teams on site will be re-located to the Hendon estate.

10. West Drayton police station was built in the 1960s and is located in a predominantly residential area. There has been no front counter service from the building for a number of years. One of the Safer Neighbourhood teams presently located there will shortly be moving to the new facility at Polar Park which is a better geographical location for that team. Some operational functions at West Drayton are based in poor quality portacabins in the yard. Minor refurbishment works will be complete by the end of June enabling these officers to be based within the main building and use of the portacabins, save for over flow locker rooms, will cease. Once Alperton is redeveloped and the CO dog teams moved from West Drayton, BOCU occupiers can be re-located within other BOCU buildings, releasing West Drayton for disposal.

11. The options to dispose of existing MPA assets and reinvest in alternative locations have previously been considered. The possibility of acquiring a new speculatively built building in Park Royal as the north-west deployment base was considered but rejected as not offering best value for money due mainly to the higher underlying land values reflected in the proposed purchase price. Similarly, a leasehold acquisition would have far higher revenue costs due to the high rents commanded in the Park Royal area. Reuse, by way of redevelopment, of sites already owned by the MPA for these operational needs is considered to offer better value for money than procuring newly developed buildings in the open market. In particular, the cost of acquisition, including Stamp Duty, is avoided as are the inherent costs reflecting a developers’ profit and funding costs.

12. In developing the existing site, the MPA can provide a building which reflects MPS Operational requirements. By designing in one package the base build and fit out can be aligned rather than there being additional works necessary to the base build prior to fit out commencing in a building procured in the open market.

13. The financial implications are detailed under Section C below.

14. To accommodate the redevelopment works, and until completion of the refurbishment project in 2012/2013, the teams located in the building will be relocated to Rowdell Road, Northolt (also known as MRD). Minor works/temporary arrangements will be required to accommodate the teams at MRD, these are included in the costs detailed in this paper. It is anticipated that the present occupiers of Alperton will have to move to MRD for a period of some 15 months whilst the redevelopment is completed. Once operational teams take occupation of the new facilities at Alperton it is proposed that MRD will be demolished and a new, high bay warehouse built on the site. This warehouse will be a managed as a corporate facility storing evidential property, vehicles and other items.

15. Finance and Resources Committee approval is sought to proceed on this basis and requested to approve the recommendations set out in Section A.

C. Other organisational and community implications

Equality and diversity impacts

1. The redevelopment of the building will be fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requirements. The redevelopment will include suitable changing/rest facilities, exercise facilities and night kitchen functionality.

2. The building will provide a modern purpose built environment that is accessible to staff, with excellent public transport links and car parking facilities for those requiring access.

Consideration of MET Forward

3. This paper aligns with the strategic intent of MET Forward section 7, Met Support, in particular the Estates Programme and the aspiration to have an estate of buildings that are efficient, well located and properly equipped.

4. The proposal aligns with the MPA/MPS Estates Strategy by ensuring a fit for purpose estate with a modern building enabling the release of old, outdated expensive to maintain buildings.

Financial Implications


5. The cost of redevelopment is estimated at £10.8m, including DoI related works and the associated works at MRD. On completion, the accommodation will support those teams previously located at Finchley Traffic Garage and West Drayton Police Station enabling the MPS to generate capital receipts of up to £12.25m.

6. The project costs are estimated to be £10.8m and are detailed at Exempt Appendix 2. Provisional funding of £8.5m has been identified within the Capital Programme 2011 - 2018 within the Corporate Real Estate funding line. The balance of £2.3m between the project costs and the provisional funding will be managed through over-programming of Property Services Capital Programme in 2012/13.


7. The redevelopment of Alperton will support the release of Finchley Traffic Garage and West Drayton Police Station and details of associated running costs for these buildings are attached at Exempt Appendix 1. The running costs of the redeveloped building will also be lower due to a reduction in maintenance and utilities costs.

8. Upon completion of the redevelopment and the two buildings released and disposed of, future revenue savings are estimated at £923k per annum. This is the difference, based on the 09 / 10 cost model, between running the existing Alperton, Finchley Traffic Garage and West Drayton and running the redeveloped Alperton only.

Legal Implications

9. The provision of accommodation is within the Authority’s general powers under s111 and s120 of the Local Government Act 1972, and they support the discharge of the general duty to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force.

10. All contracts that are required in relation to the proposed demolition and rebuild works referred to within this report will require to be procured in accordance with the Public Contract Regulations 2006 and the EU Directives.

11. Decisions on a specific award of contract will require separate approval and must be executed in accordance with the approved strategy, relevant contract regulations set out in the MPA’s standing orders, and MPS internal governance procedures.

12. This report also refers to the disposal of property which will become surplus after the rebuild project has been completed. The MPA has power to dispose of any property that is surplus under s123 of the Local Government Act 1972. A further report will however be required to be submitted to this committee for agreement on the disposal.

Environmental Impact

13. The anticipated environmental implications are tabulated below:

  Higher Lower No impact Mitigation/ management of any higher impact
Level of energy use and associated carbon dioxide emissions   Tick   The redevelopment will facilitate the disposal and redevelopment of inefficient building stock. The new development will comply with the MPS Sustainable Design Guidelines and current building regulations which will reduce carbon emissions significantly compared with the operation of current facilities.
Level of water consumption   Tick   Modern water efficient technology will be installed where appropriate
Level of waste generation/waste requiring disposal Tick     Waste will be generated from construction activities. The MPS has set a target to ensure 90% diversion of construction waste from landfill.
Level of travel and transport and associated emissions   Tick   A transport assessment and access statement will be completed as part of the planning application process
Raw material use and finite resources (use of recycled materials and sustainable alternatives) Tick     New construction will use new materials, but older buildings will be demolished and material re-used where possible

Risk (Including Health and Safety) Implications

14. The development of a new regional deployment facility will facilitate the opportunity to deliver efficient and effective policing services for a number of different OCUs. The exiting of older, outdated facilities will reduce on-going running costs.

15. The commercial property market remains uncertain at present and significant macro economic changes could impact on the level of capital receipts assumed in this paper.

D. Background papers

  • MPS Governance Board -Corporate Real Estate - 6 May 2010

E. Contact details

Report authors: Jane Bond, Director of Property Services, MPS
Contact: Roger Harding, Divisional Director Construction, Property Services, MPS

For more information contact:

MPA general: 020 7202 0202
Media enquiries: 020 7202 0217/18

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