Horley Police Station sale paused by Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Horley Police Station sale paused by Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner
7:33pm Friday 25th January 2013 in News
The sale of the Horley Police Station site has been put on hold by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey (PCC).
Kevin Hurley has paused the sale of the building in Massetts Road, along with the sales of nine other police stations across the county.
He said the sales were being suspended so that he could be sure Surrey Police was getting the best possible value for the public from them.
The other station sales now paused include Esher, Haslemere, Epsom and Leatherhead, although the disposals of Egham and East Molesey police stations will continue as they are near completion.
There is no plan to reopen any of the properties as police stations.
PCC Hurley said: “I want to be absolutely certain that we are getting the maximum possible value for the public from these assets.
“Pausing these ten sales gives us the opportunity to assure ourselves that we are not missing any opportunities to do better for the public.” One of the Commissioner’s first actions upon taking office was to call for a review of the policy of police station disposals in Surrey which began in 2010. Deputy PCC Jeff Harris, who led on the stations review on behalf of the PCC, said: “Over the last few weeks, at the Commissioner’s request I have looked in detail at the estates disposal policy initiated in 2010.”
He said: “The basic logic of the policy remains sound – co-locating police teams with councils has helped improve services to the public. Closing ageing and barely-used stations has reduced our maintenance costs.”
But he added: “However, I think the time is right to look at the disposals currently underway, and assess whether we can take a more commercially-minded approach to maximise their value.”
The other police station sales paused are Old Woking, Banstead, Camberley, Sunbury and Chertsey. The PCC's move comes after his predecessors, the now-defunct Surrey Police Authority (SPA), delayed making a decision on the sale of the Horley site last April. The station site and buildings were put on the market by the Force in 2011, along with numerous others around the county. The process of marketing them for bids formed part of a major process of changes put in train by Surrey Police to prepare for a projected downturn in its finances by cutting costs to pay for more front-line constable posts. A statement issued by Surrey Police at the outset of the initiative said: “As well as making substantial savings by reducing the number of senior officers and staff, the police estate, which comprises a patchwork of stations of varying ages and states of repair, was identified as an area where significant savings could be made from the annual £2.4 million cost of maintaining them.” The statement continued: “Many of these stations had daily visitor numbers in single figures.” The SPA cited Horley Police Station as one of these, receiving an average of seven visitors a day. The SPA approved putting Horley Police Station up for sale in April 2011, the Force having ended front counter services there. But while the sale of some station buildings around the county has since gone ahead, a decision on the fate of the Horley Police Station site was delayed last April. The SPA members looking at the bids decided more information was needed on the site. In a statement in 2011, the SPA said: “In Horley, the existing police station adjoins a large site proposed for development by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. “The Authority has agreed to progress negotiations with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council with a view to the police station forming part of the larger development site. “Any deal negotiated for the sale of the site would include a requirement for the new development to provide a police office for use by the local neighbourhood team.” A borough council spokeswoman said at that time that the site was part of the Horley Regeneration programme and included the since-demolished Newman House, which the council owned. She said the larger site of about 3.5 acres would be “a market-led development likely to be carried out by a private developer,” with the intended scheme being for mixed use, including retail and business units. However, the borough council announced last October that it had agreed to sell the town centre site to Thames Valley Housing Association (TVHA) for what it called a “landmark development” of shops, food outlets and homes. Now, with the pause on its sale, there is further uncertainty about the Horley police station site's future.
The website for the Office of the PCC is: www.surrey-pcc.gov.uk People can contact the Office of the PCC through the website, by calling 01483 630 200, via email at: SurreyPCC@surrey.police.uk, on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/@SurreyPCC, or by post to Kevin Hurley, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, PO Box 412, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1BR.