The public has the opportunity to decide the future of a prominent town centre site after the former Hebden Bridge Police Station was listed as an “Asset of Community Value”.
Hebden Bridge Community Association made the application to Calderdale Council, which means that a community group will have six weeks from the time the police authority puts the station back on the market in which to declare an interest in making a bid.
If a group makes a declaration, it will trigger a six month moratorium in which the group has time to put forward a plan and obtain finance to make a bid.
The police have now given notice of their intention to sell the building on Hope Street, meaning community groups have six weeks to declare their interest in making a bid.
A statement from West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson’s office read: “ The Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC’s) Community Outcome Framework has as its overall objective that communities in West Yorkshire are safer and feel safer.
“The PCC intends to ensure that all assets held by him on behalf of our communities are used in the most cost effective way to the benefit of those communities.
“We recognise that some property within the police estate is of importance to the social wellbeing of local communities, and have adopted a policy which allows interested groups an opportunity to preserve such properties for community use.
“The PCC has worked with Calderdale Council on this and is happy to see Hebden Bridge listed as an asset of community value. Under the provisions of the Localism Act, this means that once a building is nominated a moratorium period is triggered when notification is given of the intention to dispose of it. This has now happened and gives any interested parties the time and opportunity to put together a sustainable bid to acquire the property for continued use by the community.”
Speaking for the community association. Stephen Curry said: “If nothing else this was an important precedent to set as we believe that this is the first police station in the country to have had such a listing.
“It gives any group time to do feasibility studies for any prospective community uses for the building.”
Mr Curry said a meeting may be called if and when any groups come forward and anyone interested in doing so can contact him via email at CompSec_HBCA@Hotmail.co.uk.
Coun Janet Battye said: “The police station in the middle of Hebden Bridge is an important building and could continue to be a community resource.
“Now that this is recognised under the Localism Act and the police are moving to dispose of it, we want to make sure that we take advantage of the opportunity to retain it for community use if at all possible.”