Residents of Acocks Green are becoming very concerned about the future of Acocks Green Police Station. This, 1909 building has an interesting history.
It was built when Acocks Green was still part of the County of Worcestershire. Hence the three pear ornamentation over the central doorway to the police station. The pears are a feature of the City of Worcester coat of arms.
Look out for the three pears over the main doorway – as in the picture on the right here. At the time when the police station was built Acocks Green, as part of the parish of Yardley, was involved in a debate about whether to remain a part of Worcestershire, or whether to become part of the City of Birmingham. It seems that the pretty red terracotta police station was a gift from Worcestershire in the hope that we decide to remain in Worcestershire. Ungrateful Yardley plumped for Birmingham! So we have been Brummies ever since, but, in commemoration of this part of our History, showing that we were once part of Worcestershire, our local Police Station still sports its Worcestershire pears.
For more detail, on this Grade B, locally, listed, building, a helpful note on the Acocks Green History Society website reads:
Built 1909 for Yardley Rural District Council. Included a courthouse. Red brick and terracotta; tile roof. Two-storeys. Almost symmetrical elevation to Yardley Road. Central section with rusticated ground floor, above which is a central pedimented bay with flanking projecting bays with segmental pediments. To either side are two-storey canted bays. Sliding sash windows throughout. On corner with Alexander Road is an octagonal turret with lead dome and keyed ocular windows. Low boundary wall with mould terracotta coping.
This week we learn that the Police Authority are proposing to allocate 2.3 million pounds for a modernisation/rebuild of Acocks Green Police Station during the 2014/15 financial year. What, in effect does this mean? Nothing has yet been decided but it seems that options include demolishing and rebuilding (Already deeply unpopular with local activists; the multi-circulation emails have been flying this week.) or selling off and building a new police station elsewhere in Acocks Green. However, Acocks Green Police Station is a large building. Who would buy it? How would they treat it? To what purpose could they put it? Could they afford to give it the tlc it needs? Would they care?
There is more information on Cllr Roger Harmer’s blog
This morning (Sunday 22 January 2012) a concerned group of Acocks Green residents and local politicians of various political shades met for an very urgent and very impromptu meeting (called last night) outside the station itself to review the situation. The meeting was attended by members of Acocks Green Focus Group, Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum, Fox Green Neighbourhood Forum (Acocks Green), Acocks Green Conservative, Labour and Lib-Dem parties (including Cllr Stewart Stacey (Lab) and Councillors Roger Harmer and Iain Bowen (Lib-Dem), Yardley MP John Hemming. They were addressed by Cllr Bo b Jones, Chair of West Midlands Police Authority Finance and Resources Committee and Ayub Khan, Cabinet Member for BCC Community Services and Safety.
The main points that were raised centred on the future of the building. Residents stressed that their concern is not just that there is ANY police building in Acocks Green, but that they keep THIS important and attractive, historic building in the heart of Acocks Green’s proposed Conservation Area. To loose it would mean leaving a huge visual hole in the area. As Jon Morris of Acocks Green Focus Group and Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum said, nothing else would balance the surrounding buildings, like the Railway Station, Fire Station, and Glynne Edwards Hall in the same way. Julia Larden (Acocks Green Focus Group) pointed out that selling to another ‘sympathetic owner’ is not necessarily a safe option. Another public building in Acocks Green (1073 Warwick Road/The Churchill Club/The Knoll) was sold to a sympathetic owner who is now being forced to sell on, having been unable to undertake the planned conversion work due to financial difficulties in the credit crunch. Ann Clarke (Acocks Green Focus Group and Acocks Green Conservative Party) pointed out that part of the Police Station was, originally, residential accommodation, and that this might be a way forward. Cllrs Jones and Khan said that they would take on board the concerns of the local people and consider the possibility of retaining the building, with some parts of it being let to other organisations.
There is likely to be a further meeting in the coming months (Indoors, and out of the wind!!) so watch this space.
Acocks Green is an internet savy community of bloggers. There a set of Flickr slide show/set of pictures of the meeting here and two more descriptions of the meeting here and here (And we will add any further accounts which appear.)