WESTBURY’S former police station, on Station Road, is up for sale as a residential development opportunity.
The station was one of 10 that were “formally closed” last year in Wiltshire after a report by Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire, Angus McPherson, described them as “surplus to requirements’” and labelled as “approaching the end of life”.
The closure left Westbury without any police officers based in the town.
Instead, shortly before the first national lockdown in March, Westbury’s library became a police “touchdown” in a bid to make police more visible on the streets. However, the move was criticised by the Wiltshire Police Federation who said it was no replacement for a police station.
The sale of the 10 former police stations has been criticised by candidates for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) role, which is up for election in May.
The Conservative candidate, Jonathon Seed, has said that the sale of the buildings is based on a “out of date review” and has called for a halt to the sale to allow for a review.
“It is completely and utterly outrageous that the current PCC in the very twilight of his tenure is going ahead with the sale of these sites without considering the requirements of the force, that have undoubtedly changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jonathon Seed.
Independent candidate Mike Ress has also called for a review of the plans.
He said, “When the election was postponed last year, I did comment that I felt it would be prudent not to pursue any further closures of police stations until a new PCC was elected.”
And Lib Dem candidate, Liz Webster, has promised a full consultation into how policing should be delivered.
She said, “The current Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner’s tenure has run over by a year thanks to the pandemic. Whilst in “extra time” he has robbed the next commissioner of the ability to influence what happens to our local police stations, by selling them off just as he’s leaving office.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire, Angus McPherson, was approached for comment.