Police station put up for sale

Police station put up for sale

BATLEY Police Station is up for sale. 

The two-storey building, in Market Place, has been put on the market with a guide price of £325,000.

The station has not been used for some time, with officers deploying from Heckmondwike to conduct patrols and call-outs in the town.

Police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has reassured Batley residents that the sale will not lead to any loss of police presence or a change in response times.

In online marketing material the 6,892 sqft station is described as a "substantial prominent two-storey office building ... constructed in attractive stone under a pitched tiled roof, the property offers a mix of open plan and cellular office space".

The building is not listed but lies within the Batley Market Place conservation area.

Original features include a 'statement entrance' and a holding cell block to the rear.  

Chartered surveyors Carter Towler, who are marketing the building, say it may be suitable for a range of uses, subject to planning consent.

PCC Mark Burns-Williamson, who is responsible for the overall policing budget in West Yorkshire, said: “Since 2010, West Yorkshire Police has experienced Government cuts to the tune of £140m, with the loss of around 2,000 jobs.

“Given this sustained austerity, we have explored every possible option with West Yorkshire Police that ensures we retain a strong frontline presence, coupled with premises which are fit for modern-day policing.

“It led to the development of the West Yorkshire Police Estates Strategy 2015-2020, looking at ways in which savings and efficiencies could be made from our estate, whilst mitigating the impact upon communities.

“After assessing the use of our buildings against a back-drop of a reducing workforce, we were able to determine those that offered the best value for money and operational effectiveness.

“Batley Police Station was within those considerations and having been vacant for some time, was recently placed on the market.

“Much of our plans have been about having fit for purpose and more cost-effective police premises in a similar location.

“The local officers previously based from Batley are therefore using the nearby Heckmondwike Police Station as their new deployment base and regularly undertaking drop-in sessions in Batley town centre.

"What is important to recognise, however, is that the loss of a building, does not equate to the loss of police presence or a change in response times.

“We have been careful to ensure that there is an enduring neighbourhood policing footprint across the town and that every opportunity for contact is exploited.

“Given the extensive options now available to contact the police, such as ‘live chat’, online reporting and crime tracking on top of the 101 and 999 telephone numbers, there has been a real shift away from physical attendance at stations and premises.

“Importantly, there was a public consultation survey undertaken measuring contact through the use of police buildings.

It found that 91 per cent of participants had not used a public help desk in the last 12 months, with 61 per cent having never used one at all.

“During the last few years I have also invested around £20million to help transform the way the police now work, including the introduction of agile equipment and mobile devices. This allows officers to spend more time away from stations on the streets and in our communities, which is where people across West Yorkshire tell me they want to see them.

“Whilst the financial returns from the sale of buildings can only be used as investment towards future capital investment, the money saved from their significant running costs has been pumped back into frontline policing wherever possible. 

“Partnership working, including with our emergency services partners and co-location continues to play a key role, sharing premises where possible to provide a greater visibility across our communities.

“The decision to sell under-used and buildings that are costly to run, has now placed West Yorkshire Police in a better position for the future in keeping more people employed.

“It has helped steer us to a position where I have now been able to deliver a police budget for 2019/20, which will bring an additional 264 officers and specialist staff into the force and maintain the level of police community support officers (603) within our neighbourhood policing teams.”

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