Leighton Buzzard police station has been sold to Central Bedfordshire Council for £930,000, it has been confirmed today.
And the council has agreed to temporarily lease the building back to Beds Police for £1 until a planned transfer of officers to the town’s fire station in Lake Street comes to fruition.
The sale of the police station, along with the co-location of police officers to the shared fire station base, are part of Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway’s plans to bring visible policing back to Bedfordshire’s third largest town.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted that this sale has gone ahead. From a policing point of view the station was in completely the wrong location in view of the way Leighton Buzzard and crime had developed.
“We will now have officers based right in the heart of the centre of the pubbing and clubbing culture, and right alongside the high street. Not only that, but I promised our third largest town that it would not be policed like a village, and that officers would not be tucked away out of sight but would be highly visible at the heart of the town.”
The new plans for policing in Leighton Buzzard were announced at a public meeting in the town earlier this year. The Commissioner, along with the Deputy Chief Constable Mark Collins, also announced an additional police sergeant and eight officers for the town, who started in the town this month as part of Operation Sentinel – the Force’s initiative to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour.
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Corporate Resources, Cllr Richard Wenham, said: “Central Bedfordshire is purchasing the police station site in Leighton Buzzard. As a council we have commitments both to the future regeneration of the town and to provide a wide range of services within it, so this strategically positioned site will have real advantages.” Leighton Buzzard Police Station’s future has been the subject of speculation for more than a decade, with the Police and Crime Panel reporting in 2013 that only 20% of the building was being used by the force.
There are also plans to re-open an enquiry office in the town, based in the Ambulance Station on Bassett Road.