Lavender Hill Police Station has been in the news, with plans announced for around half of the public-facing front counters at police stations to close. The latest plans suggest that Lavender Hill is relatively well used, with 4.5 crimes reported on average every day, so it is planned to be retained as a 24-hour 7-day-a-week front desk.
The plans have been published in a report, “The Mayor’s Office for Policing and
Crime and Metropolitan Police Service Public Access Strategy” (62-page PDF).
The report notes that, while the Lavender Hill office is not planned to be closed, it is one of two front counters that are in buildings which are “not fit for purpose”:
“We are clear that we still need the front counter services these buildings [including Lavender Hill] provide, in these areas, and so will be locating new sites very close to the existing stations. The existing sites will not close until the new sites are open. If suitable sites cannot be found then the moves will not take place.”
If the police station does move this important site may see redevelopment. It shares a building with the Lavender Hill Magistrates Court, which isn’t going anywhere soon – however we understand that the two halves of the building are not so joined that they can’t be separately redeveloped. We’ll keep an eye on plans.
It’s not too clear where the police station could move – the layout of the current station is admittedly less than ideal, and the Met Police presumably want a smaller building with better access, while still having a secure reception and a few private interview rooms. Subletting space in the library, or the western end of the Post Office building, are possible options. Close to Clapham Junction would be ideal for visibility and access, but likely very costly for the sort of space they will need.
The Borough’s other police desk in Wandsworth fares less well and is set to close. Apparently it sees just 0.2 crimes reported per day – maybe because it’s tucked away at the quiet end of Wandsworth High Street. More pertinently it’s an elegant building that could potentially be sold (although the current plans suggest at least part of the site will be retained). And of course the old Battersea police station, up near Battersea Bridge, is now a block of flats.