Police station re-opens to the public after a decade

Sam Siddall, of Edlington Community Organisation, Maureen Tennison, of Edlington Royal Tenants and Residents Association, Lynn Brookes, of Edlington Community Organisation, Insp Dan McKnight, Council officer Steve Thomas, and council officer John Davies, at Edlington Police Station. PIcture: David Kessen
Sam Siddall, of Edlington Community Organisation, Maureen Tennison, of Edlington Royal Tenants and Residents Association, Lynn Brookes, of Edlington Community Organisation, Insp Dan McKnight, Council officer Steve Thomas, and council officer John Davies, at Edlington Police Station. PIcture: David Kessen

Edlington Police Station is open to the public again - 12 years after the closure of its front desk was announced.

But the site, on Main Avenue, will only be open to the public two days a week, and will serve more as a hub for various community services than a conventional police station.

Michelle Hudson on police horse Treeton, and Julie Bradshaw on police horse Cubley, in Edlington. PIcture: David Kessen

Michelle Hudson on police horse Treeton, and Julie Bradshaw on police horse Cubley, in Edlington. PIcture: David Kessen

It always remained open for officers to use as a base, but the public has not been able to use it to contact officers.

The venue's first day in its new guise saw a number of visitors dropping in on a day which coincided with the start of an action scheme to tidy up some of the village's empty and derelict buildings.

Police officers, Doncaster Council officers, tenants and residents association representatives, St Leger Homes staff and community centre officials were all in the building for the first day.

Insp Dan McKnight, the neighbourhood inspector for Doncaster West, said: "We think it is good to have the different organisations together, and it is good to have a visible footprint in the community.

"We are encouraging the community to engage with us. The only way to solve issues in the area is through dialogue with members of the public.

"Over the last few years the police station has been used as a forward operating base, but from the community perspective it has been closed. People can now report crime here, but we would encourage them to ring 101 or 999 in an emergency, as it is not open every day and we would not want people leaving it several days to report crime."

Residents will be able to report non-crime issues to the other agencies which will be at the police station, and officials expect the move to enable them to work together better by being in the same place.

The opening day also saw a rise in high visibility policing in the former mining village, which has seen action stepped up by agencies following concerns over levels of crime and antisocial behaviour in and around its Royal estate over the last two years.

Residents are still concerned about the issue.

The opening day for the new role saw mounted police on the streets, as well as off-road biking teams dealing with nuisance bikers.

Maureen Tennison, of the Edlington Royal Tenants and Residents Association, said: "The issues we tend to see are issues involving private landlords, and antisocial behaviour..

"Opening the police station like this is massively important. It is a place for people to drop in, and we've seen that today. When the police station is open you can see we've got a police presence, with other agencies there too. I think it is about breaking down barriers.

"The way this is run will mean groups can share information and have a better idea of what is happening in the village."

Doncaster Council's community manager for the south of the borough, Steve Thomas, said: "Today we have had 55 people engaged with, and most of them have taken away leaflets about summer activities."

Action on derelict buildings

Action has started to tidy up some of Edlington's most derelict buildings as part of a wider plan to improve the area.

Doncaster Council officials are using special powers under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act to drive through a clean-up of some of the most dilipated properties in the village's Royal Estate

It gives them the power to carry out work itself and bill the property owner for the cost.

It is the first phase of work, and has been carried out by workmen this week.

It will see overgrown gardens tidied up and boarded up window and unsightly house frontages will be tidied up. All boarded up windows will be painted black, as it is believed that they drawn the eye less than metal sheeting or other colours.

A second phase of action is planned in six months time, when the authority will look to carry out more substantial work, such as repairs on derelict roofs.

Doncaster Council's community manager for the south of the borough, Steve Thomas, said: "This is the first phase. The second phase will be in six months time, in circumstances like where the property's roof has been compromised. Property owners have six months to attend to to it.

"Work on the first phase starting now.

"Landlords have already been contacted. They had six weeks to respond and we are past that now, so we are undertaking work by default."