The ‘West End Extra’ reveals;
“ONE of three Westminster police stations that closed last year has been sold to property developers for more than £8.5million.
It has been revealed that St John’s Wood police station in Newcourt Street was sold by the Mayor of London in October and will now be turned into a large block of residential flats.
After details of the sale were uncovered this week, Westminster North MP Karen Buck questioned how the money was being spent.
She said: “We’re certainly not seeing it feeding through into additional policing on the ground, which is, of course, what the promise was.”
The police station was axed last year and put on the private market as part of a £500million cost-cutting drive, which saw dozens close across London.
City Hall’s former housing chief Councillor Jonathan Glanz, who was forced to resign last year, was paid £27,000 to advise the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) on the deal in a personal capacity.
Details of the sale were revealed on a list of police buildings sold by MOPAC. It shows how 11 sales have already gone through bringing in a total of £27m and that the owner of the four-storey former police station in St John’s Wood is now Newcourt Property Holdings Ltd.
The developer is not registered at Companies House and no details of the new owners have been made public.
The deal was orchestrated by estate agents Knight Frank, which described the 7,000 sq ft property as an “attractive four-storey detached yellow-brick building” with “potential as a residential redevelopment”.
It was closed at the same time as two other police stations in Westminster.
Harrow Road police station is also expected to be sold on the private market, but the freehold of the Marylebone station belongs to Portman Estates, which had a long-lease contract with the Met.
The exact plans for the old St John’s Wood police station remain unclear as the new owners are yet to seek permission from Westminster Council for any major works.
But a register of the sale states that it is intended for “refurbishment/redevelopment for residential”.
Ms Buck said: “The gauntlet I would throw down to Westminster Council is to make sure that there is a reasonable proportion of affordable housing to rent and to buy on site.
“We are in a housing crisis and even in St John’s Wood people are saying to me we have to have a reasonable proportion of affordable housing on these sites, because otherwise everything is luxury and being sold to investors and residential communities are being hollowed out in front of our eyes. So, whether you’re thinking of the money that it generates or what happens to the building, we are losing out.”
She added: “The line from MOPAC was ‘you’ve got under-used buildings and we need more people’. Up to a point I don’t disagree with that. But where are the people? We are hundreds of police officers down on where we were in 2010.”
Cllr Glanz, who is a solicitor and director of property company 45 West, was paid £500 a day to help MOPAC dispose of the buildings.
Last year he denied a conflict of interest between this job and his former role as the cabinet member for housing and property.
He said: “I don’t perceive that as a conflict of interest. They are based on separate criteria and I have deliberately not got involved in any debate in Westminster to avoid the suggestion of that.”
Cllr Glanz was forced to resign last year after making controversial comments in which he compared social housing tenants to millionaire “trustifarians” on the Channel 4 show Made in Chelsea who depend on handouts from relatives to live a luxurious lifestyle.
A spokeswoman for MOPAC said: “All money from police station sales will be ploughed back into policing, including investing in IT to deliver a 21st-century police force better equipped to respond to crime.”