August 1 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Scotland Yard is spending more of taxpayers’ money on looking after the axed Hampstead police station than before the building was closed.
The site’s high running costs were one of the main justifications for closure 11 months ago.
But police are now shelling out more on security fees to keep out squatters, following the eviction two weeks ago of a group who had taken over the annexe – and offered to look after the former station in Rosslyn Hill free of charge.
The Met spends £2,500 a week on security, while about £1,750 went on maintenance before its closure.
Annually, the burden on the public purse would be £130,000, compared with about £92,000 when it was still operational.
A £5,000 legal bill was also incurred in evicting the squatters.
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, of the Hampstead Shops Campaign, and Cllr Chris Knight, member for Hampstead Town ward, both branded the situation “ridiculous” and called for the station to be reopened until the site is sold.
A Met spokesman insisted the security contract would only be a short-term measure, to keep the building secure until it is sold “within a four to six week period”.
He added that the site is “under offer for educational use”.