Last edited 16 Feb 2021

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Bryden Wood secure planning approval for new Metropolitan Police Driving Academy

Metropolitan Police Driving Academy images:

On 19th December 2017 Bryden Wood, the integrated design and operations consultancy for the built environment, was granted planning approval for a £10m dedicated training facility for the Metropolitan Police Driving School.

This Academy replaces their existing building, due to be demolished as part of the ongoing development in Hendon, North London. The new facility will allow the Metropolitan Police Service to maintain its aim to enhance road and officer safety and enable them to operate effectively in London's demanding traffic conditions. This international centre of excellence will train officers from all over the world. Construction work will start in Spring 2018 with the facility scheduled to be open early in Spring 2019.

The Police Driving School is located within the grounds of the world-famous Peel Centre (Hendon Police College) in North West London and is covered by the police area of Barnet Borough. Metropolitan Police Services cover an area of 620 square miles and a population of 7.2 million.

Paul O’Neill, Bryden Wood Director commenting said “The planning approval from Barnet Council is a really positive step towards a hugely exciting project for Bryden Wood and we are looking forward to starting the build. The building has a simple linear form and high-quality materials. In addition to being cost efficient, the new building will provide up-to-date technology for training officers.”

In addition to the external training requirements needed for the Academy, the building requirements include a combination of training areas, classrooms, a simulation space, DSA testing room, administration suite and briefing room/break out spaces. When entering through the lobby into a circulation corridor the briefing room and breakout space are to the immediate left. Directly in front of the main entrance, an access corridor separates the two 24 person classrooms from the vehicle inspection area. This allows the classrooms to overlook the inspection area with a circulation space also providing a thermal buffer between the two. Access between the spaces is easily achieved via doors at each end of the circulation corridor. From the inspection area, the rest of the carport opens up through bifold doors. Direct access to the staff office area and the wc/locker areas are provided allowing trainees and staff access to showers without the need to go through the internal teaching/administration areas.

The proposed site plan locates the three main features: wobble road, C1/D1 training area and car parking. All external areas have been linked to ensure a more efficient vehicle flow. The vehicle entrance is located close to the west boundary of the site, where the security control and the visitor parking will be located. The car park extends to link with the C1/D1 training area. Both spaces overlap and became the perfect transition between the car park, the car port and the driving academy. This area is linked with the wobble road which it is extended along the full length of the east boundary of the site. The external area covers aspects of training including the wobble road for the motorcycling, Hollow Spike Tyre Deflation / StopStick training and Motorway/ fast road safety training. This is the requirement for the licensed testing area for DSA accreditation.

Bryden Wood was founded in 1995 by Mark Bryden and Martin Wood. It has grown into a 175+ strong architecture and integrated design company, whose activities span from analysis and business strategy, through architecture and engineering. The business is operated on solution based strategy and a fascination with construction methodology detail-derived aesthetic. The retained client base has increased to include many blue-chip clients across a range of sectors. Bryden Wood has become the UK leader in off-site design and systemisation and has recently entered new markets including the Far East and Africa.

Paul O'Neill, Bryden Wood Board Director, Architecture joined Bryden Wood in 2000. He currently leads architectural and multidisciplinary design teams working on projects which are at the forefront inception to completion. Paul’s design capabilities, broad knowledge of construction techniques and experience in delivering highly complex projects, have enabled the realisation of a diverse range of projects. Paul also oversees business operations, ensuring quality, efficiency and added value is delivered throughout the company.

Paul has extensive knowledge of the planning system and has delivered numerous approvals for a range of clients across many sectors. This includes projects with complex phasing requirements, in terms of both future expandability and adaptability.

The Police Driving School was established in 1935 by the then Commissioner, Lord Trenchard. Lord Trenchard, arranged for the famous racing motorist, Sir Malcolm Campbell, to test a number of drivers from Divisions. This difficult and strenuous test consisted of driving a Squad or "Q" car on normal patrol and on an emergency (999) call, both in heavy traffic and on the open road. Lack of experience and in particular, inadequate training facilities was a great handicap in raising the standard of driving. For these reasons in 1934 the setting up of the Metropolitan Police Driving School at Hendon was ordered.

--Bryden Wood

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