Police stations will be sold to save £11m

A massive sale of police stations and land is planned by the Cambridgeshire force in a bid to plug a £11 million budget black hole.

The constabulary yesterday revealed a wholesale review of its property portfolio as part of a cost-cutting strategy.

The force wants to launch a fresh search to find a new location for Parkside police station.

Histon police station in Mowlam Close, Impington, is also on the hit list as well as former playing fields at force headquarters in Hinchingbrooke. Ely and Soham stations will stay subject to a “compelling business case” and a team in Bottisham could be moved out to sell off the property.

Huntingdon, Ramsey and St Neots stations have been saved from the axe but St Ives, Sawtry and Yaxley could be shared with other organisations such as community groups.

Cambourne, Melbourn, Linton and Sawston police stations will remain, but the force hopes to sell its former station in Papworth in the next few months.

The planned sell-off is part of Chief Constable Simon Parr’s redesign to save cash and make efficiencies after the Government announced 20 per cent cuts to the force’s budget.

Details of the sale have been revealed in a Cambridgeshire Police Authority report.

Cllr Jonathan Chatfield, who represents Histon and Impington on South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “A police station in the villages is key to neighbourhood policing, and if it were to close it would fly in the face of what the police say they want to do – to connect with the community. They have gradually been reducing the hours the station is open.”

Meanwhile, plans to shut Cambridge’s Parkside police station are back on track.

The move was put on hold after the force failed to find a site to build a multi-million pound state-of-the-art southern divisional headquarters in the city.

A report to the police authority’s finance committee said: “There is still a commitment to the relocation project and a city centre presence, recognising that continued short-term occupation of Parkside is necessary.”

It “recommended that a site search should recommence” and “commercial opportunities should be considered on their merits”.

It added: “The area commander has reconfirmed that a location north of the city centre is preferable in order to minimise deployment times.”

The review also concluded the force’s HQ should be kept but “surplus land (former playing fields) could be considered for sale once the property market improves”.

And after the force’s helicopter was grounded for good in April, air support premises at Wyton have been vacated and the lease ends on October 31.

The report, which will be discussed by the authority tomorrow (Sep 4) revealed a total budget gap of almost £11 million from 2013/17.

A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman said: “The proposals are due to be considered at the police authority meeting on Wednesday.

“This is part of the force’s Op ReDesign work to streamline services, including our estates.”

The fate of the land and buildings will be announced in January after discussions with the new police and crime commissioner.

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