A FORMER police station in Dudley town centre will be converted into flats after planners gave the scheme the thumbs up.

Residents of the new flats could find themselves living ‘behind bars’ as the scheme to convert the former station and police cells on the corner of New Street into apartments, has been approved.

The building has been empty for several years after closing in 2017 as part of cost cutting measures.

The scheme will create 14 flats on the basement and ground floor levels of the town centre building.

Dudley News:

Drawings show a new ramped access would be created for apartments at the old Dudley Police Station. PIC: Planning Design & Build Ltd

A report states: "The proposed development is acceptable in principle, causes no harm to amenity and would have significant impact on the historic environment.

’Moreover, there are no fundamental highway safety concerns."

One of the proposed ground floor apartments will be created where three old cells are with two bedrooms and a living room having views that police prisoners once ‘enjoyed’.

Agent Planning Design & Build Ltd said the scheme – providing 11 one bedroom and three two bedroom apartments – will bring the vacant building in the conservation area back into use.

They said there could also be investment to redevelopment the remaining other two floors of the old station in future.

West Midlands Police is pressing ahead with plans to build a huge new HQ in Dudley to replace a number of crumbling smaller stations around the borough and had a bid accepted in June 2019 for land off Hall Street.

But the project has been hit with delays due to legal complexities around the purchase and, at a Strategic Policing and Crime Board meeting in March, chief constable Dave Thompson likened the deal to “buying a house”.

In their application, the developer said there would be no significant changes to the exterior of the building, apart from adding a ramp for access through the main entrance.

They said: “The proposed conversion of the basement and ground floor level to flats is considered to comply with policies.

“The use would be sustainable and ensure that the vacant building is bought into use. And that the heritage asset within the Conservation is preserved.

“The provision of flats would provide valuable accommodation for key workers, professionals and students using the town centre.

“This would also complement existing business uses, provide valuable footfall traffic to the centre and its facilities.

“The owner would continue to invest in the site and redevelop it and allow the opportunity to redevelop the remaining floors of the building."

Dudley News:

Floor plans showing where the cells at Dudley Police Station were and the proposed flat going in their place. PIC: Planning, Design and Build