row has broken out over the sell-off of another police station after Sadiq Khan rejected a bid to turn it into a GP surgery and affordable housing.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime is believed to be seeking to complete the sale of Teddington police station by the end of March for an estimated £6m.
But more than 2,100 residents have backed a campaign seeking to “repurpose a public asset for the public good” rather than having it sold off to the highest bidder and turned into luxury flats.
In a further twist, a Government minister has revealed that MOPAC does not have to secure “market value” for the site – meaning it could consider the wider benefits of converting the building into a GP surgery, community centre and affordable homes.
This came after Lib-Dem MP Munira Wilson successfully challenged the approach from MOPAC that it was required to raise as much cash as possible to reinvest in front-line policing.
Ms Wilson, MP for Twickenham, said the mayor also needed to consider the “crises in health and housing”.
She said: “It is my belief that MOPAC does not have to sell to the highest bidder and can take community need into consideration.”
The rival bid for the police station was from Park Road Surgery, which operates from an outdated Victorian house on the opposite side of the road that is not fit for purpose, and a housing association.
They proposed retaining the ground floor as a health centre, alongside community space, and building 33 flats in the floors above, all of which would have been affordable.
It is thought the GPs’ bid was about £2m lower than highest bid from a property developer.
Dr Nick Grundy, a partner in Park Road Surgery, said he was “frustrated” that the wider community benefits of retaining the building in public use were not being considered.
He told the Standard: “I completely understand that MOPAC needs to raise money from its assets, but when you hear so much talk about the importance of affordable housing and building communities, when the push comes to shove it does look rather just like talk. When it comes to their own assets they won’t do it.”
The row comes as campaigners in Kensington and Chelsea, backed by the Tory council, are seeking to keep Notting Hill police station in community use.
Few crimes are now reported by the public at police stations but campaigners say they are vital to retain as bases for community police officers. There has been recent knife crime incidents in the area but the nearest police station is Twickenham.
At times, police have to travel to Kingston or further afield to find a custody suite after making an arrest.
At least 38 police stations have been partially or fully closed since Mr Khan became mayor in 2016.
The capital’s police stations were first cut back in 2013 when Boris Johnson was mayor. Then the number of front counters was reduced by 63, from 136 to 73.
Stations that have closed include Richmond, Hampstead, Greenwich and Belgravia.
A mayoral spokesperson told the Standard that “no final decision” had been taken by MOPAC on selling Teddington police station.
The spokesman said: “It’s important that MOPAC get the best possible offer in order to ensure value for money from the Met estate, as funds will be reinvested in policing.
“The difficult decision to close Teddington police station front counter and to plan for the disposal of the site was taken in order to prioritise police officer numbers as much as possible in the face of underfunding of the Met by Government.
“Keeping Londoners safe is the mayor’s top priority, and it is right that funding for frontline policing is prioritised over buildings that are no longer fit for purpose. This is why a review of the Met’s entire estate is underway in order to look at the long-term plans for police stations and the potential impact from an increase in officer numbers.
“The mayor has ensured there’s a 24-hour police front counter in every London borough.”