Upgrade will retain original character

The old Pinelands Police Station will soon be included in the neighbouring Central Square complex.

The old Pinelands police station site in St Stephens Road will soon be relaunched as the extension to Central Square, with locals satisfied that the building’s landmark status will be restored.

Extending Central Square would see the introduction of an extra restaurant, tea garden during the day, with a play area for children, along with a small deli, chocolate and gifts shops coming to the area.

Speaking on behalf of the Pinelands Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (PRRA), Carol Clark said no objections were lodged against the development of the space, as the building was being retained and the flats above the neighbouring Spar would not be deprived of sunlight.

“The development plans that were done and approved are what they are still busy with. It was really not much in the form of change, just cleaning, removal of the odd walls and putting in a proper kitchen. There were no concerns lodged with the PRRA,” she said.

However, Ms Clark said the previous application for the space had been rejected by the PRRA, due to the many traffic concerns and the size and scale of the proposed building on a small erf.

“There were a number of applications, from a Kentucky drive through, to a doctor’s consulting clinic, to a five-storey block of flats with shops underneath and underground parking for residents and shop owners.

“The PRRA rejected the previous application for a four-storey unit with shops underneath. It did not object to this development which retained the appearance and character of this Pinelands landmark,” Ms Clark said.

The old Pinelands police station was one of two police stations in the province to be situated on privately-owned land.

The police moved out in 2008. The property was on the market and there were a number of applications to revamp the site.

The development has excited a few Pinelands residents, who were happy to hear of the new retail components being added to the space.

Pinelands resident Shireen Ryklif, said it was good to hear about the plans for the old station, especially as so many have been wondering about the future use of the space.

“The residents would be happy to hear the space being used so positively. So many times, you see monstrous building and problematic building taking up the space, causing all sorts of headaches for locals,” she said.

“The necessary consultation was done and we as residents were notified accordingly about the plans for the space – this made it much easier as we knew what was going on.”

Donavan Whitely added to Ms Ryklif’s comments by saying: “It is very pleasing to hear that the building will actually be retained and that the developers are basically just making it more pleasing on the eye.

“The old station is a known landmark in Pinelands. If you do not know where the old station is, you clearly are not from Pinelands,” he laughed.

Mr Whitely especially commended the PRRA for remaining on the tails of developers and opposing anything which they felt would negatively impact the residents.

“They have constantly sent out communications, even opposing previous applications, fighting in the best interest of the residents. This is one of those developments all would be happy to see going ahead. It not only brings the space more to life, but it sees a well-established landmark receiving a little make-over,” he added.