Wisbech Police Station to stay where it is after police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite abandons 'blue light hub' link with Cambs fire
PUBLISHED: 17:55 20 February 2019
Wisbech Police Station - with 80 years remaining on its lease - is staying where it is after police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite made the surprise announcement today.
Mr Ablewhite has abandoned plans first revealed in 2016 to move the station to the town’s fire station and create a ‘blue light hub’.
”Following discussions with chief constable Nick Dean, I have decided to keep Wisbech Police Station where it is, with plans to refurbish the existing site to meet the needs of communities around the Fenland area and to allow for future expansion”.
It could have implications for any potential re-development of the adjoining old court buildings when the site was snapped up in 2015 for £150,000 in 2015 by local businessman John Foster.
News of the sale had been made in a surprise announcement in the House of Commons when it was revealed that a planned auction of the court house had been called off pending a sale.
The buyer was later revealed as Mr Foster and followed an aborted bid by Fenland District Council to buy the site.
Police pay a peppercorn rent but once the court closed Fenland Council considered buying the building to round off the round off the Nene waterfront regeneration project.
The then police and crime commissioner Sir Graham Bright initiated the review that proposed closure of the police station and Mr Ablewhite moved the proposals on, at one stage preparing drawings of what the merged ‘blue light hub’ might look like.
“Since I began a review of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s estate in 2016, we have seen an increase in demand in the Fenland area, as well as across the county” said Mr Ablewhite.
“I can now confirm that operational requirements for the area have changed following the introduction of the new local policing model.
“This change of plan will enable us to increase capacity from the station and provide the necessary resources to meet increasing demand. Importantly, it also enables us to save money, freeing up the planned expenditure on a new building to plough back into neighbourhood policing.
“Neighbourhood policing will continue to be resourced as a priority, as with other areas of the county.
“I can also confirm in consultation with the chief constable that March Police Station will also remain to provide a policing hub and response base for the wider Fenland area.”
Mr Ablewhite added: “Staying there gives us more scope for growth than the previous joint fire / police station would allow.”