Police chiefs have dropped controversial plans to relocate Crieff’s police station from the town centre to Strathearn Community Campus.
The decision, which has been welcomed by residents and politicians, follows a public consultation exercise which saw the move opposed by nearly 75% of respondents.
Local community councillors also objected to the proposal, claiming it could have a potentially negative impact on policing in the town through the loss of a visible presence in the centre of Crieff, as well as inflaming parking and access issues at the community campus.
Tayside Police Inspector Iain Ward led the consultation into the proposal which recommended the closure of the King Street police office and the creation of a dedicated space within the community campus.
Earlier this week, he admitted to the Herald that he was “disappointed” with the outcome but said a combination of local reaction against the move and the costs of relocating had led to the decision to remain in the town centre.
Inspector Ward, the senior officer for the local area, said: “I am obviously disappointed about the outcome as I firmly believe this would have provided great opportunities for the community and the police to engage as policing moves forward.
“I also acknowledge the results of the consultation with community representatives being strongly against the move.
“I would like to thank those who became involved in the various groups and discussions for showing their genuine interest in the way public services are delivered in the area and for their shared vision for Crieff.
“Tayside Police will become part of Police Scotland on April 1 and my focus will be on maintaining the highest possible standards of policing.
“I will, of course, remain alert to opportunities to enhance our service in the future.”
Campaigners against the relocation said they were pleased police chiefs had listened to the views of the public and are delighted the force will continue to have a presence in the town centre.
Proposals for a move emerged after police said the current building, which has been in King Street for 100 years, was no longer fit for purpose and had unused areas.
A consultation process began last November which demonstrated a strong feeling in the community that the police should remain in their current location.
Inspector Ward added: “I think a move to the campus was a good idea and would have provided excellent engagement with the local community, but the costs didn’t stack up as a business plan.”
He said there was no `plan B’ in terms of other potential locations for the police station but did add, however, that any future opportunities which make good financial sense would be considered.