THE police have opened their new base in Winchester in a move that cost £4.5 million.

More than 300 staff will be located at the new station on Tower Street after moving from the old headquarters on Romsey Road and the North walls station.

There will be 20 staff working for the neighbourhood team, around 10 PCSOs and one chief inspector.

Mottisfont Court, previously owned by Hampshire County Council, has utilised the space with an operations room and a number of meeting rooms, as well as a gym.

Police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes said at the opening on Monday: “Having the headquarters in the middle of Winchester is a good thing for the officers and for the public.

“What it says is that we want to be in the middle of the community. We are now closer to the county council, closer to the law courts and closer to public as a whole.”

The North Walls site will be sold as part of the PCC's Estate Strategy which has seen Hampshire Constabulary cut £55 million in the last four years and must save a further £25 million by 2017. 

Local resident Dorothy Felton, of Cross Street, said: “I have lived in Winchester for over 30 years and I think having the police in the heart of the city is a brilliant thing.”

“I only live around the corner and have been following the building process from day one to when they took the scaffolding down."I am very proud that the police have decided to move to Tower Street."

Estate change director, James Payne, said the newly renovated building used money from the selling of other assets.

He added: "We made the building to be used as efficiently as possible."