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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Sales of Cumbria's police buildings raise more than £1.7m

More than £1.7 million has been raised so far from a sale of police stations and buildings in Cumbria.

Documents have revealed the sums paid out to date in the big sell-off, which was launched to slash costs in the wake of budget cuts. A report also reveals the status of a number of properties that are still waiting to be sold.

The sale was launched more than two years ago following a review of all force stations, offices and buildings to see if they provided value for money and met the needs of communities and local squads.

Stations in Wigton, Cockermouth, Keswick, Maryport, Cleator Moor, Egremont and Alston were among those chosen to be sold.

Figures gathered for the county’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, show a total of £1,771,100 has been paid for properties so far. The highest individual sum was £327,000 following the sale of Keswick police station. Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is opening a bar on the site. The lowest was £45,600 for Millom Police Station.

A report to Mr Rhodes’ executive board, which includes police chiefs, states: “There were originally four properties that were planned for disposal in 2014/15.”

It says the former Wigton Police Station is due to be marketed soon, while a rental agreement has been extended with the current occupiers of what used to be Cleator Moor Police Station. On Maryport Police Station, the report adds moves on this property are “currently on hold pending decisions regarding operational requirements”.

Police are no longer based at any of these sites.

“It is now unlikely that a sale will be achieved during 2014/15,” the report states about the Maryport station.

The other property involved in this year’s plans is a police house in Ambleside. It was said at the time of the shake-up that it would save about £119,000 a year in running costs.

Some community leaders voiced their disappointment but the force said it was a “small number of buildings” that were “under-occupied and under-used”.

Officers said the way people used stations had changed and visitor numbers were in decline, while technology allowed police to do more while out and about. Cash raised is being used for a new station in the south of the county.

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