Fresh plans to convert former police station into children's centre

The former Bowthorpe Police Station, pictured in 2018. Photo: Google

The former Bowthorpe Police Station, pictured in 2018. Photo: Google - Credit: Archant

A former police station which has sat empty for years could become a care centre for autistic people. 

Plans to transform the Bowthorpe Police station, on Wendene, have been submitted to Norwich City Council. 

The facility is intended to provide space away from home for autistic people, providing educational activities, sensory experiences, living skills development as well as a space to relax. 

This is not the first time development on the site has been proposed, with earlier schemes to demolish the site for housing and a care home for children approved in 2019 and 2021 respectively. 

While both have stalled and have not progressed beyond the application stage they could still be brought forward. 

A planning statement with the latest plans said the lack of movement is due to the increasing costs for construction and the new plans would require no internal or external changes. 

Previous applications have said the site is in “some disrepair”. 

Bowthorpe Police Station, pictured in 2009. Photo: Colin Finch

Bowthorpe Police Station, pictured in 2009 - Credit: Archant

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The station was originally put on the market in 2019, with a guide price of £200,000, and outline planning permission to demolish the building and create two new homes. 

This followed a 2017 Norfolk Constabulary review that found the building was unneeded.  

Now though, Cascade, who run children’s care homes, hope to turn the site into a care centre for children living with autism, mental health conditions and learning difficulties. 

The planning statement said: “It is intended to provide a modern, fit for purpose and adaptable development and the internal layout will provide a vibrant and fresh development and secure the future of the building which has been empty for some time now. 

“Cascade supports people living with autism, mental health conditions and learning difficulties along the road to greater independence. We believe all vulnerable people should receive safe, appropriate, high-quality care with the emphasis on health, education, community and first-class facilities.” 

The application can be viewed on the city council's planning portal, reference 22/00894.