Could the old Police Station in Exchange Street be saved from demolition at the eleventh hour? Member Jonathan Gilpin is offering a lifeline for these much loved buildings. He has an exciting plan to convert the buildings to an up-market themed restaurant.
The Aylesbury Society has been fighting to keep both these historic buildings since 2009. Our failure to get them listed by English Heritage in 2010 has never diminished our desire to see them back in use, and saved for the town as one of the few remaining 1930’s buildings. They were built as a matching pair and, as such, should remain so. To demolish one and leave the other would detract from the street scene.
Past excuses from all councils has been that no one wants them, and they would be too expensive for potential owners to refurbish. Now Mr. Gilpin has made an offer to Bucks County Council that, in our view, cannot be refused. The excuse now is that the building needs to be demolished to make way for an entrance to the new car park. However, having inspected the gap between the cinema and the police station, there is ample space for 2 way traffic, similar to the existing Exchange St car park.. If absolutely necessary, why not demolish part of the former prison wall to make additional access space. We are also told that 20 car park spaces would also be lost if the building remained. This is nothing compared to the jobs that a new restaurant would bring to the town. It would also support AVDC’s plan of making Aylesbury a ‘ a destination of choice, and a centre for entertainment and the arts’. What better place for a restaurant than opposite the Waterside Theatre and next to the Odeon cinema.
It is never too late to change plans, and we would hope that council is not as intransigent as some people think it is. So we ask Bucks County Council to engage as quickly as possible with the new likely buyer of these historic and iconic buildings and help save them for Aylesbury.