Police strike deal for Hand Equestrian Centre
PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 July 2015
A former equestrian complex in Clevedon is set to be sold to Avon and Somerset Constabulary, with the force planning to base its mounted police and dogs teams there.
The Hand Equestrian Centre in Davis Lane was closed due for financial reasons at the turn of the year, to the dismay of many horse-riders.
It was put on the market for about £950,000. The final sum has not been disclosed but the sale of the 12.5-acre site is expected to be completed within the next few weeks.
The police’s current base in Bower Ashton near Bristol will close as a result.
Sue Mountstevens, Avon and Somerset’s police and crime commissioner, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the constabulary to move into a state-of-the-art facility which will enhance the public order training for police officers and potentially others across the region. It will also provide a better environment for both their staff and animals. The police has for some time been telling me the current base in Bower Ashton no longer offers the flexibility needed, and it is also in need of considerable repair.
“By moving into this base it will give us a modern facility fit for the 21st century, improve the training the police can do and offer more opportunities to work with partners and our regional colleagues.”
The announcement has also been praised by many people in Clevedon residents who are happy to see a larger police presence in the town.
The site was bought in 2007 by businessman Nick Davies, who spent millions of pounds upgrading the facilities, which were used by a number of top-level horse-riding organisations including the British Show Jumping Association.
The Olympic-approved venue, which boasts two outdoor arenas, a grandstand and 68 stables, was also known for hosting regular car boot sales on Saturdays and events including Zero to Hero white collar boxing.
Nick Davies, speaking to the Times in December when he announced the centre was going to close, said his family had done all they could to keep it running.
He said: “We bought the Hand eight years ago as a run-down shed and as a family we have invested a small fortune and all of our time into the facility to develop it into an Olympic-approved venue for all to enjoy.
“For years The Hand Equestrian Centre was not been able to make enough money to pay its way through equestrian activities alone but we managed to make up the shortfall.”
Police are continuing to look for buyers for its Nailsea police station, valued at £1.25million, and the old base it used in Clevedon, before setting up a desk at Castlewood.