POLICE chiefs in the Northern region have welcomed the planning panel's consent for Coffs Harbour's new justice precinct.
Coffs Clarence Commander Superintendent Mark Holahan said approval to build the new police station and courthouse on the Beryl St/Woolgoolga Rd site was an important milestone for law and justice.
"For too long police at Coffs Harbour have had to work in an environment that no longer meets our needs," Supt. Holahan said.
"All of our staff have had significant input into the design and lay-out of the station and we are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to move into that station in the future.
Outlining police support for the Beryl St site, Northern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Carlene York presented a submission to the Joint Regional Planning Panel.
"The Beryl St site was the only location that was large enough to accommodate police operations in Coffs Harbour," Supt. Holahan said.
"The new station will be built to incorporate future increases in policing and overall will help with morale and pride in the workplace.
Stakeholders in the project, have indicated remediation works will start on the former NSW Forestry depot site as early as next week.
Senior police have been told building works on the new station should start before the end of this financial year.
The current, Coffs Harbour Police Station in Moonee St, is said to be one of the most outdated in NSW - dating back to 1974.
It will remain operational until the new station is built and a transition is made to the new site.
"We continue to operate out of an old station that no longer meets the needs of modern day policing," Supt. Holahan said.
"I've told the troops we face just one more summer in this building.
"Particularly for female police officers, the station is outdated as a workplace, as it was built in an era where the workforce was predominantly male and therefore there are no locker rooms for our female officers.
"The Beryl St site was the only location that would have been large enough for police operations here in Coffs Harbour.
The proposed police station will include two conference rooms, four holding cells, three docks, a gym and state of the art office space and vehicle housing.