GM Force HQ structure completed

Michael Hunt

A topping out ceremony has been held to mark the completion of the structure of the new Greater Manchester Police Force headquarters at Central Park in Newton Heath.

New Greater Manchester Police Authority headquartersThe 240,000 sq ft building has been designed by Aedas and developed by Ask:Goodman Developments on behalf of New East Manchester, costing £64m.

Ask:Goodman Developments is a joint venture company formed between property group Goodman and developer Ask to develop the 450-acre Central Park business park.

Ask:Goodman directors joined senior Police and partners on the rooftop of the new building to watch GMP Chief Constable Peter Fahy and vice chair of Greater Manchester Police Authority, Gloria Oates, secure a golden bolt and sign the final piece of steel.

Building contractors, Carillion, placed the traditional evergreen yew branch on the structure to symbolise growth and to bring good luck.

Fahy said: "We are working to ensure we provide the best and most efficient service for the people of Greater Manchester. This modern, fit for purpose headquarters will encourage team-working and improve communication to enable us to work more efficiently and get the most value from our tightening budget so we can in turn spend more on frontline policing."

David Burkinshaw, from Ask:Goodman Developments, added: "This topping out event marks the final completion of the building's structure. Ask:Goodman together with its partners is delighted to celebrate this traditional ceremony which marks a significant step forward for the Park. Its prime location and dedicated transport interchange will give staff the ease of access needed for their relocation and with more than 1,000 people expected to occupy the HQ, Central Park's business community will be boosted considerably. We look forward to the final fit-out being completed in summer 2011."

The new development replaces the Force's current headquarters in Old Trafford. Staff and officers are expected to be working from the new headquarters towards the end of 2011.

A new £36.5m transport gateway is already in place, and there will be a dedicated tram stop, just five minutes away from Manchester city centre, which will be operational by 2011.

The North West Development Agency, Homes & Communities Agency and New East Manchester are delivering the masterplan for Central Park and helped GMP move onto the site.

Paul Lakin, director of land and property at the NWDA, said: "It is good to see work nearing completion on another important project for Central Park and the regeneration of east Manchester. New developments build new confidence, which in turn will attract further private investment. Central Park is one of our strategic sites because it certainly has the potential to generate substantial economic and social benefits and we will continue to work with partners to enhance its success."

Eddie Smith, chief executive of New East Manchester said: "It's great to see this iconic building nearing completion. This building, alongside the divisional headquarters, has raised the profile of Central Park considerably and is already helping us attract further investment into this part of east Manchester. Central Park continues to be a significant economic generator for the area and we will continue to work closely with our funding partners, the NWDA and the HCA, to bring further economic benefits for the people of east Manchester."

In February, Greater Manchester Police Authority gave final approval for a new divisional headquarters for North Manchester to be built at Central Park.

The 125,273 sq ft building, also being designed by Aedas and costing £35m, forms part the £64m Force HQ scheme.

The decision means Bootle Street, Newton Heath and Grey Mare Lane police stations will all close as they no longer support the needs of a 21st Century police force.

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