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Campaigners pledge to fight “tooth and nail” for officers in Hampstead

Public meeting to discuss the future of Hampstead Police Station 30.10.12. Public meeting to discuss the future of Hampstead Police Station 30.10.12.

Friday, November 2, 2012
7:00 AM

Community leaders are mounting a campaign to keep a police presence in Hampstead by brokering a deal to keep part of their station active.

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Tony Hillier speaks at a public meeting on the future of Hampstead Police Station held at St Stephan's 30.10.12.Tony Hillier speaks at a public meeting on the future of Hampstead Police Station held at St Stephan's 30.10.12.

It is widely accepted that grade II listed Hampstead police station will be sold, but residents want to ensure there are still officers in the village.

Campaigners are creating a package of demands for any developer interested in the 19,000sq ft site.

The conditions are likely to include a smaller police base in the redeveloped Victorian building, thought to be worth £30million.

The Heath and Hampstead Society has put its proposal to the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), which owns the 1913 station in Rosslyn Hill.

Deputy mayor for policing and crime Stephen Greenhalgh would have to agree the deal if the conditions of development are to be enforced.

If the mayor’s office agrees to the demands, they would be enshrined in a 106 planning agreement.

At a campaign meeting on Tuesday night Tony Hillier, chairman of the Heath and Hampstead Society, said: “Let’s get together what we think are the main requirements of policing we want to retain here as part of a development package.”

Hampstead Town Cllr Simon Marcus, who chaired the meeting at St Stephen’s Church, suggested that the community gather a “portfolio of evidence” to put pressure on the Met to maintain a police presence in the area.

Mr Hillier added: “This is a very attractive building in terms of the capital it might raise, but it’s also very important in terms of the local community.

“It’s a listed building and we do have in Hampstead a very strong local community that does not get pushed around.”

This week police chiefs signalled that older buildings, which they described as “an accident of history rather than by design”, would be sold off as the force seeks to save £500m by 2015.

The Met will try to reduce the size of its property portfolio by a third in three years.

Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said that for every front counter closed, three local police contact points would be established in supermarkets, libraries or council offices in the area.

Only five police stations have been approved for sale so far.

The Met is reviewing its budget and estate and is expected to put forward a new list of stations to sell later this month.

No decision has yet been made over the future of the Hampstead station, but plans have already been drawn up to move officers to other stations in Camden.

Cllr Marcus said: “We want to maintain a police presence in Hampstead: that’s our line in the sand. We will fight tooth and nail.”

A spokeswoman for the London Assembly said an alternative contact point would be established for any front counter which is closed although it might not be in the same building.

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