Police U-turn leaves council in the cold

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A COUNCILLOR has revealed his frustration after Eastwood Town Council sold its offices to make way for a new police station only for the plans to be scrapped.

Cllr Don Rowley said the police had let the council down after councillors sold the Nottingham Road council chamber to the force only for them to backtrack on their plans.

<Digimax S1000 / Kenox S1000>

<Digimax S1000 / Kenox S1000>

But the councillor, who was elected onto the town council this year, also said he felt the deal had been struck with police too easily and had now left the council with no solid base to hold meetings.

He added: “We had so many years in that brilliant council chamber. It wasn’t just used by the council, but other groups used it as well. I think it’s pretty disgraceful.”

The town council sold the building to police and moved in to a new office in Mansfield Road, which they now rent.

But it is too small to hold meetings, leaving councillors moving between Plumptre Hall, the catholic church at Hilltop and the volunteer bureau.

“They are all over the place. It’s not fair on Eastwood or its people,” Cllr Rowley said.

“When we have meetings people don’t know where to go. We’re here, there and everywhere. It’s not fair.”

The town council left the chamber in Nottingham Road last year because plans for a new state-of-the-art police station were underway and the police force said it wanted to buy the property off them.

The council did not want to stand in the way of a new station, and they were offered £133,000 for the building – double what it was worth and an offer too good to turn down.

But police force budget cuts mean the station is now not going ahead and Cllr Rowley believes the council should have stood up to the force earlier.

“I think eventually the police would have compulsory purchased it. At least then we could have got compensation. They pushed us out for nothing,” he said.

“They (the council) should not have left on their own free will. They have left a perfectly good building for no apparent reason.”

Cllr Rowley’s fellow town councillors say they are now looking into the possibility of buying the building back but there are fears that it would be unlikely the police would sell the building on its own because it was bought as part of a deal with the surrounding land.

The force paid Broxtowe Borough Council £400,000 for the council chamber, car park, cash office and surrounding land with the borough council passing £133,000 onto the town council for the council chamber building.