Old police houses set to be sold off

REDUNDANT police houses and stations in the Longridge area are to be sold off by Lancashire Police in a bid to save cash.

Village police stations in Goosnargh and Grimsargh are to be put on the market with another 11 bases across Lancashire.

Other villages affected include Cockerham, Woodplumpton, Preesall and Hambleton, Singleton and Weeton.

A spokesman for the force said Goosnargh ceased to be a police house and station last year when the community beat manager moved out and at a later date a police office was opened up at the village hall.

She added that this facility at the village hall would continue to be used by neighbourhood police.

In Grimsargh, she said the house had been out of use for a number of years but had been a base for the neighbourhood police and PACT meetings.

It is understood other venues in the village will now be used for future PACT meetings.

Norman Ridding, 73, who lives in the centre of Grimsargh, said: “It’s a sad sign of the times.

“I don’t think it’s a proper thing to do.

I understood when it became unmanned that it would be used as a drop in centre for the local police.

“We should be able to have closer contact with our officers.”

In Woodplumpton residents have raised concerns over the decision to close their former police house, used as a base for the neighbourhood policing team and PACT meetings, saying it was yet a further loss of a community facility for the village.

Woodplumpton’s police house closed on January 13 with two days’ notice.

Parish clerk Julie Buttle said: “I must admit we are quite shocked at the speed of the decision from a parish council perspective.

“It’s the loss of an important facility for the community.

“Our concern is it could affect the visibility of officers if they aren’t seen dropping in at the police house.”

Coun Tom Davies, a former policeman, who represents Preston Rural East, said: “When I was on the beat every village had its own bobby in a

police house who knew everything about what went on in the area.

“I understand they have to save money because of the cuts but it is going to become a soulless, faceless ‘yes sir no sir’ set up.

“Our village bobbies are very good when they are allowed to work on their patch but just yesterday I saw them in another area of Preston

working on another operation.

“Villagers pay just as much council tax as those in towns and cities and should have a local service.”

The spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “The Constabulary is facing significant cuts as a result of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

“We have been preparing for these cuts for sometime and have saved around £10m over the past two years through the programme of organisational reviews but clearly this will not be enough.

“An efficiency review is ongoing and as part of that review, a decision has been made to sell 14 police buildings across the county.

“The majority of the buildings affected are empty police houses to which the public never had real access.

“They are buildings where police officers would have lived with their families and the majority of them have not

been used for some time.

“Officers will continue to be out on patrol in the affected areas and the policing of the community should not be affected by the move.

“We will continue to focus on reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities as well as providing a high quality service to the public.”