Decision about the Notting Hill police station delayed
A few days ago, City Hall and and MOPAC (the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime) instructed Knight Frank, who are marketing the Notting Hill police station, that the end date for purchase bids should be moved from 18 March to 13 May. Originally, the end date was 31 January. It was then extended to 16 February, and later to 18 March.
So why have they decided to extend bidding period? There are at least three possibilities:
1) MOPAC may intend to take an unpopular decision (i.e. sell the police station to the highest bidder), but have realised that they won’t be able to make that decision before 28 March, which is the date when the pre-election period (“the purdah”) begins for the local elections on 5 May. During purdah, “governments, ministers and civil servants must exercise caution in making announcements or decisions that might have an effect on the election campaign.”
2) However, if they plan to take an unpopular decision and already have lots of bids, there would be no need to extend the bidding period: they could simply postpone the decision until after the purdah. So they may still plan to sell to the highest bidder, but hope for more appetising bids.
3) There may simply be a lack of bids, combined with the fact that many in City Hall will be tied up in election canvassing, so they have decided to extend the bidding period until after the election and haven’t yet decided anything.
Whatever the reason, the extension means that we can keep our petition running until early May, and hopefully get many more signatures! If you haven’t yet signed it, please do so! And encourage your friends to sign as well.
Campaign to keep the police station for community use
The long battle to retain the Notting Hill police station for community use is coming to an end. The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) has asked Knight Frank to find developers interested in buying the station, and as soon as the bids have come in, MOPAC is expected to decide its future. Will the station be replaced with more unaffordable luxury homes, or will it be retained as a building for community use? The sales proposal is for luxury housing on the entire site without any community facilities, so that’s what most bidders will go for.
However, the RBKC council will also submit a bid, and they plan to maintain the community use. The uses are not finalised, but will hopefully include a GP surgery, a police presence and perhaps a facility for adults with learning disabilities.
Sign the petition
We need to show the mayor that there are community needs for this site and that a community asset should not be lost to luxury housing. So, in order to improve the chances for a sale to the council, the Kensington Society has just started an urgent public petition, which may help sway MOPAC, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan.
However, as the sale may happen very soon, we need as many signatures on the petition as possible, as quickly as possible. Depending on how quickly the decision process is going, the petition will either be presented at a meeting of the London Assembly or be delivered directly to the mayor.
Sign the petition via this link (and please tell your friends to sign it as well): Ensure that the Notting Hill police station retains its community use.
The Notting Hill police station is situated at at 99 – 101 Ladbroke Road, close to its junction with Holland Park Avenue and within walking distance from Holland Park tube station.
The Notting Hill police station served all of North Kensington for more than a hundred years, but in 2017 it was closed and the plan was to sell it. The reason was that the government had told the Metropolitan Police that it had to save another £400 million, so the solution was to close 41 police stations instead of cutting down the number of officers. A similar thing happened in 2010, when the Met was told to save £600 million, leading to the closure of 76 police stations. One of those was the Chelsea station, which in 2015 was sold to an anonymous tax haven company, which a few months later sold it on to another tax haven company, in order to turn the site into another luxury flat complex which this borough doesn’t need.
However, before MOPAC announced the decision to close the Notting Hill station, the Kensington Society applied for the building to be made an ACV (Asset of Community Value), and the council quickly approved this, thus giving the property the protection of an ACV.
In August 2021, MOPAC notified the council that it intended to sell the station, and after attempts to find someone willing to buy the building and let it for community service activities, the council decided to buy it itself and put in an offer for it.
The council’s plan is to turn part of it into a home for up to 20 adults with learning disabilities. Adults with learning disabilities who need specialist at-home care are currently often placed outside Kensington and Chelsea. Another part would be a much needed GP surgery, and the council also plans to offer the Metropolitan Police some space it it. After the closure, the building has been used as a drop-in base for police officers.
The council’s bid for the station is backed by all the political parties in the council as well as the Kensington MP, Felicity Buchan.
Page created 26/01/2022, updated 17/03/2022