Police station could stay open by renting out unused spaces to businesses
PUBLISHED: 14:00 16 February 2018
A police station could be saved from closure if two businesses rent out its office spaces.
Homes in Sedgemoor and Knightstone Housing could move in to Burnham-on-Sea police station, in Burnham Road, with Avon and Somerset Constabulary looking to rent out the station’s unused space as it is ‘three times bigger than needed’.
Discussions had been ongoing for more than two years about the potential closure or downsizing of the station due to £60million worth of cost-cutting measures.
But Sergeant Ryan Edwards told a Burnham and Highbridge town council meeting that the new renting initiative will save the station from permanent closure.
Sgt Edwards said: “We will rent out space in the building so we can keep the station at the heart of the community.
“The long-term future of the station is looking more secure.”
The Constabulary had looked to move officers to smaller facilities, with the library, in Princess Street, and the fire station, in Marine Drive, muted as a possible locations in March 2016.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said at the time the plans ‘make better use of public money while ensuring a police presence remains in the community’.
Wells MP James Heappey has welcomed the news after he campaigned against its planned closure.
He said: “The decision to close Burnham police station, the last police station in North Sedgemoor, was always wrong headed and unpopular with the local community.
“I welcome the news that a more savvy way of sharing the costs of the building might now allow the station to stay open.
“People living in Burnham and Highbridge have felt an increase in crime recently, including some particularly high profile and troubling incidents, so a permanent police presence in the town provides some reassurance.
“I hope this arrangement will stop further talk of closure.”