Trainee architect’s ‘cultural court’ plan would save old police station

An impression of Oliver Andrew's plan for Waterside. Below, an aerial view. Bottom, Mr Andrew
An impression of Oliver Andrew's plan for Waterside. Below, an aerial view. Bottom, Mr Andrew

An award-winning trainee architect has produced his own vision for Aylesbury town centre, which could save the old police station.

Bucks County Council wants to demolish part of the building to make way for a temporary surface car park, as part of the Waterside North scheme.

Proposed development of Aylesbury's Waterside area by architect Oliver Andrew PNL-150113-174606001

Proposed development of Aylesbury's Waterside area by architect Oliver Andrew PNL-150113-174606001

Campaigners oppose the plans, and last week handed in a 2,000 signature petition to council leader Martin Tett.

And this week trainee architect Oliver Andrew, who has won two major student awards for his work, released images of what he says would be a compromise for both parties.

Oliver, 25, who lives in Bedgrove and works at Grimshaw Architects in London, said: “When I saw the scheme I thought that Aylesbury could do a bit better, I thought it didn’t look as though it had been thoroughly thought through.

“It’s purely speculative at the moment but I would be keen to meet up with council leaders to talk about it.

Architect Oliver Andrew PNL-150113-174946001

Architect Oliver Andrew PNL-150113-174946001

“I know there is a campaign to save the old police station and I’m standing in the middle because I realise that the council does need extra parking, I am not getting involved in that argument.

“But there has to be a compromise and I think my scheme does that.”

Oliver, who was born in Halton and went to John Colet School in Wendover, comes from a family of architects. His great grandfather Barrington Fitkin was an architect, and his father Christopher Andrew was an architect for Aylesbury Vale District Council until 2004.

After John Colet, Oliver enroled at Buckinghamshire New University and took a Foundation Course in Art and design, his final major project was focused on architecture.

He then studied architecture at London South Bank University and during his degree was nominated for the RIBA South London Society Awards.

Oliver, who will become a fully qualified architect in six months, said: “My proposal is to incorporate the old police station whilst acknowledging the council’s masterplan by creating a new gateway to the town from the south.

“The 1930’s police station will be redeveloped and modernised to make them commercially viable as businesses. For this to happen it has to be accepted that the internal layout of the two buildings wouldn’t be viable, the internal layout is not suitable but the exterior facade and architectural character is desirable.

“The modernisation creates a new second floor with small retail and office spaces suitable for start-up businesses. It would create an opportunity for new and small-scale business to thrive in affordable spaces in the heart of Aylesbury.

“This would be a welcome change following the loss of the much loved underground market in Friars Square, which provided a central location for small businesses to develop.”

The proposal has been welcomed by campaigner George Entecott, who has worked hard to save the building which once house Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs.

He said: “I was lucky to manage to get a sneaky peak at the plans and I love the idea of keeping both buildings.

“The car park planned for this site is temporary, later it is intended to become a recreational space much like you see here.

“The difference is that both buildings stand and that space is better defined as a square, a cultural court, in our town.

“This proposal broadly fits into the Waterside North plan, it is so close to the ‘end game’ for this quarter.

“I am very excited by this proposal and I invite Bucks County Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council take a look at this proposal and consider its merits.

“More than 2,100 people signed the petition to keep the building and here is a proposal that puts that feeling into action.”