'Costly' and 'under used' Hampstead police station could close in matter of months
PUBLISHED: 10:45 23 August 2012
Met Police chiefs have drawn up a plan that could see historic Hampstead police station close in as little as six months - ending 100 years of serving the community.
The Grade II-listed police station has been dismissed as “under used” and too “costly” to run by Met bosses and is earmarked for closure within the next six to 24 months if plans are approved, the Ham&High understands.
The station in Rosslyn Hill could be closed once a proposal to shut it is submitted to the London Mayor’s office for policing and crime.
It is understood measures are being put in place to relocate the few remaining officers based there from neighbourhood policing teams.
A police spokesman said the future of the station is under review, but no decision has yet been made over the fate of Hampstead police station.
Fears over the future of the station have been growing for months after opening hours were slashed and Camden’s chief of police said the cost of keeping it open was “disproportionate” to the service it provided.
In May the Ham&High revealed the near-empty station had cost the taxpayer more than £90,000 in basic running costs over 12 months – more expensive than busier stations in Kentish Town and West Hampstead.
The historic home of the Met’s Hampstead sub-division is believed to be one of a raft of stations set to be put on the property market. The vast 1913 Victorian building – which has its own court house – could sell for up to £11million, swelling the Met’s coffers.
The revelation comes as Camden Conservatives prepare to do battle with the Met over any proposed closure.
The Tories are also campaigning to keep the stables at the West Hampstead police station and have launched a petition.
Julia Krysiak, one of more than 60 people to sign the petition, wrote: “I am a young single woman living in Hampstead and this sort of a police presence in my village is extremely valuable. Without it I would not feel as safe as I do now.
“Please do not deprive women like me of this necessary safety net.”
But former Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, Ed Fordham, said the “world has moved on” since he fought to save the station in 2005.
“While I think the neglect in letting that police station rot is scandalous, things have changed since the last campaign,” he said.
“The scale of neglect has left these police stations expensive to run, but keeping the station open would be trying to preserve a piece of history.
“If community policing is to be real I would talk to people about using a place in Keats Community Library.”
Peter Burian, vice chairman of the Hampstead residents Safer Neighbourhoods Panel, said: “We are not wedded to the building but we do need a police presence in the heart of Hampstead.
“It does not necessarily need to be in an old Victorian drafty building which costs huge amounts in maintenance bills.”