THE police station in Royal Wootton Bassett has reopened for the first time since October after completing renovations which cost more than £600,000.

Mayor Nic Hughes and Mayoress Sue Hughes cut the ribbon to mark the much-anticipated occasion which had been delayed by the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Hughes said: "

During the extensive project, the building has been transformed into an open-plan office space with a dedicated refreshment and locker area.

New windows have been installed and a new roof fitted, the old garages have been removed and parking extended, the green areas of the site have been enhanced along with other cosmetic improvements.

The aim was to turn the old facility into a bright, modern and pleasant space to work in.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire Angus Macpherson said: “My strategy is designed to help focus our efforts in transforming our sites in order to continue to be fit for the demands of modern day policing.

"The out-of-date Royal Wootton Bassett station was identified as a community policing team hub, and as such required significant refurbishment to ensure it was fit for purpose, involving a substantial investment of over £600k.”

Officers and staff started moving back into their old base earlier this week before the official reopening on Thursday.

Inspector Doug Downing for Royal Wootton Bassett said: “Officers usually based at the station have been temporarily relocated to local touchdown facilities at both the town council offices, during the day and the fire station, offering 24/7 access which has been really helpful.

"Usual briefings at the start of officers’ shifts have been taking place from Malmesbury Police Station as well as Cricklade, which has been utilised for admin and comfort breaks, prior to patrolling the local area.

"I am confident that the community have retained a continued service and reassuring police presence throughout the improvements being undertaken but we are pleased to be getting back to our new and improved site.”

Police share public spaces in several places known as 'touchdown points' across the county to save money and work in areas where members of the public can see them and approach to ask for help if needed.

Since the start of lockdown, many of the usual touchdown points in cafes or other public places had shut, so some of the closed police-owned sites were re-opened as office space to allow officers and staff more flexibility in socially distancing themselves while carrying out admin tasks and paperwork.

These weren’t, and still aren’t, open to the public but people in the community may have noticed more police presence in these areas. The use of these sites will be reviewed again as and when the working guidelines are re-assessed. It is possible these specific locations will close again.

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard was pleased to see the refurbishment finished.

He said: “Together with the police and crime commissioner, all our sites were reviewed and assessed.

"As an integral hub for the area, Royal Wootton Bassett required significant investment to remain suitable for 21st century policing.

"This is the latest phase of the plan and it’s great to see the station finished and staff settling in, utilising the space.

"It’s a huge improvement for our officers and for any members of the public who need to meet here.”