The relocation of the police headquarters in Reading away from the town centre has been delayed by yet another year.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) currently has its Reading headquarters in Castle Street, right next to the Magistrates Court in the town centre.

For years, the police force has been planning to relocate from the building due to a need to downsize and mounting operational costs at its current headquarters.

Keeping the HQ open cost £182,100 in 2021 for utilities such as water, gas and electricity, amounting to an approximate monthly bill of £15,175, with costs increasing to £22,500 in January 2022.

Reading Chronicle: The Thames Valley Police Reading headquarters in Castle Street. Credit: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting ServiceThe Thames Valley Police Reading headquarters in Castle Street. Credit: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting Service

In order to curb these costs, TVP announced that it would be moving to the Atlantic House building in Imperial Way, Whitley in 2019.

The force was initially meant to move operations there in March last year.

However, TVP required building refitting works to be undertaken, which hit a snag when the original refitting contractors Midas Construction went into administration in January 2022.

TVP was able to appoint Willmott Dixon as the replacement contractor in 2022, announcing hopes to relocate in the latter half of this year.

But now, TVP has revealed that it is not expected to occupy Atlantic House until the end of 2024.

This comes as an embryonic plan has emerged to replace the Castle Street HQ with 260 flats.

READ MORE: Plan revealed to replace Reading police HQ with flats

Clarifying the status of the current HQ, a police spokesperson said: “TVP continue to occupy Reading Police Station in Castle Street with both local policing and other teams currently located there. Following a marketing exercise, TVP exchanged contracts for the sale of Castle Street to S2 Estates in 2022.

“This sale is on a ‘subject to planning’ basis and S2 are currently finalising their proposals ahead of formal planning submission to Reading Borough Council.

“TVP’s intention remains to occupy our new base at Atlantic House, Imperial Way.

“Following the appointment of Willmott Dixon as the replacement main contractor in 2022, pre-construction activities have taken longer than anticipated.

“However, work is scheduled to recommence on site by November this year; occupation of Atlantic House by those teams currently located at Castle Street is now expected by the end of 2024.”

The project to relocate to Atlantic House itself has proven expensive for TVP.

READ MORE: Reading Police Station relocation: cost of move revealed

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Reading Chronicle revealed that the force spent £8,250,000 to occupy Atlantic House in July 2019.

It then spent a further  £2.999 million refurbishing the property according to the FOI obtained in May last year.

Atlantic House is located near the M4 junction 11 and Reading Gateway which has a Premier Inn, Beefeater, Costa Coffee and Nandos, with Aldi set to open a supermarket in the old Toys R Us store by the end of November.