Controversial plans to close down Mansfield Woodhouse Police Station have been branded ‘appalling’ by Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale.
Sir Alan (pictured) told Chad that the cost saving on the proposed closure of the £1.3m station will be minimal, and will have a massive impact on the 18,000 residents of Mansfield Woodhouse, as well as other communities.
He made the remarks after Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping launched a consultation into the proposed closure, which the force says will save them £50,000 per year in running costs.
But Chad has discovered that Nottinghamshire Police is set to lose around £875,000 if the sale goes ahead, and the proposal has been widely slammed by readers.
Sir Alan said: “I think this proposal is appalling and it should not go ahead. The cost saving is actually minimal - £50,000 is about the cost of one police officer.
“It’s taken us a long time to get this facility and we have already lost local stations - they closed down stations in Forest Town and Warsop and all of that was supposed to go into Mansfield Woodhouse.
“I know this is a time of austerity, but when you look at the levels of crime, they need to look at other options. Mansfield Woodhouse is its own community and you can’t just walk away from it.”
Under the proposals, the station would close and officers would work out of a new community base in the area, which Nottinghamshire Police says would allow for a more visible police presence.
But when the station opened in 2007 on the corner of the High Street and Rose Lane, police at the time said the new facility would place officers “in the heart of the Mansfield Woodhouse community, raising the profile of the police in the area and making us more accessible to the general public”.
Nottinghamshire Police has endorsed the closure plans, but the decision is yet to be finalised by Mr Tipping.
Speaking about the planned closure, Mr Tipping said: “This money could be better spent on additional police officers and PCSOs to maintain visibility in our communities.
“Tough choices need to be made as to how we can release funds to invest in the areas which will make our communities safer.”
The future of the station has been uncertain since it was earmarked for possible closure as part of a review of Nottinghamshire Police’s estate, and follows the closure of several stations and sub offices in the area.
County and district councillor Joyce Boznjak, who represents the Mansfield Woodhouse area, said that the priority now is maintaining a strong police presence in the area.
She said: “I fully appreciate how difficult it is for them to make the required savings and I’m not going to get hung up about bricks and mortar, although I would sooner not see it go.
“But what is important to me is that the current policing levels do not drop and I will be keeping a very close eye on that.”
A community information event is set to take place at Turner Hall in Welbeck Road at 10am on Saturday, 7th December.