WRONG site, wrong design, wrong cost.

That is the damning assessment of Ammanford police station from the man trying to steer Dyfed Powys Police Force through “the most significant crisis policing has faced in the last 150 years”.

Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, Chief Constable Ian Arundale confirmed that the station in Foundry Road - which replaced the town’s red-brick Edwardian station in 2001 - is costing £700,000 a year, a quarter of his total estates’ budget.

The Force’s only PFI project – whereby a public sector service leases a building from a private company – the Foundry Road station was built by local contractors T Richard Jones, of Betws, in 2001.

The building is leased from the company Dolef Cyf until 2031 and it is understood that the annual payments will increase over this period, although police are trying to re-negotiate the terms.

“Weare just not receiving value for money,” said Mr Arundale.

“And given current conditions I would not have entered into the agreement we are legally bound to regarding Ammanford police station.

“I would certainly not have been looking to denude the local community that it would be more cost effective.

“Yet because of past decisions we are having to pay for a building with a custody suite that needs to be staffed 24 hours a day.”

Maintaining that the Ammanford custody suite was used – albeit infrequently – Mr Arundale added that he could not justify three custody suites in the Carmarthenshire area and would be considering a primary facility and a reserve in the future.

“These are challenging times in which I’m having to make 20 per cent cuts in real terms – and there’s no instruction manual on howto go about it.

“I also have to maintain an appropriate police response – and that’s a delicate balancing act.

“However, there is no threat to the police presence in Ammanford.”