Conservative councillors have tabled a motion for next week’s Full Council meeting urging the Labour-run council to amend its proposed budget for 2018-22 to enable it to buy the police station from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and then lease it back to them. This would mean the borough could retain a much valued police station in Wimbledon.
The purchase would be possible as Merton Council’s capital programme for 2017-18 is currently underspent by over £11million whilst the council also has total usable reserves of £91million. Under plans first mooted by Hillingdon’s Conservative administration last month, MOPAC would then be charged a yearly rent of around one per cent of the purchase price whilst the council would make a grant covering half of the annual running costs of the police station.
Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon, said:
“Sadiq Khan’s plan to close Wimbledon Police Station will put at risk the safety of everyone who lives and works here. Yet time and again he has refused to listen to the thousands of local residents who have made clear his proposal is totally unacceptable.
“Now he and Merton Labour have the chance to think again. I hope that both the council and City Hall will accept our proposal and do the right thing for Wimbledon.”
Councillor David Simpson, Conservative Spokesman for Community Safety and Enforcement, said:
“We know that residents in Wimbledon are completely opposed to the closure of our local police station. This is an affordable and practical plan that would save Wimbledon Police Station and secure the safety and quality of life of local residents. Merton’s reserves have gone up by £50million since 2010 under Labour. That’s residents’ money just sitting in the bank. By purchasing this important town centre site, the council would gain a regular rental income whilst the Met Police would save 50% of their running costs and avoid having to spend hundreds of thousands on changes to Mitcham police station. It’s a win win.”