Anger as police station is axed

Mary Wilson, Tim Ashton, Brenda Ackers.
Mary Wilson, Tim Ashton, Brenda Ackers.
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LYTHAM’S police station is to close, despite a determined campaign – which included a public meeting and petition containing more than 3,000 names – to save it.

Campaigners are devastated by the announcement from Lancashire Police which shocked the public earlier this year by revealing it was forced to save £42m over the next four years.

However, following the three month consultation period by the constabulary into the future of police stations throughout the county, Kirkham’s front counter has been saved. Freckleton Station is to close though.

Those who fought to preserve Lytham still hope there will be a police presence in the town. The Clifton Street station will shut when the force’s lease on the building expires in 2015.

Coun Brenda Ackers said she would be pushing for a police presence. She said: “I think it is important the community has a community feel and if we lose too many facilities like the police station and information centre, then we tend to lose focus.”

Lytham charity champion Mary Wilson MBE, one of the campaign organisers, said: “They are being very foolish and leaving us wide open.”

Andrew Fallow, chairman of Lytham Business Partnership, said: “I think it just sends the wrong message really.”

It comes just a week after exclusive jeweller Leonard Dews revealed it was pulling out of Lytham following a spate of armed raids. Mr Fallow said maybe Lytham Heritage Centre could be used as an information centre and front desk. There have also been suggestions of linking up with the fire station to provide a front desk there.

He added: “I hope they will listen to what people have been saying and come up with something.”

Kirkham councillors Liz Oades and Elaine Silverwood battled hard to keep their town’s newly-refurbished front counter open.

Coun Silverwood, chairs of the town’s business group, said: “The police will know we really appreciate this, it’s such a positive decision.”

Coun Oades said: “I’m absolutely thrilled, it’s nice to know when they’ve had a consultation they’ve listened and we’re very grateful.”

All the front counters will close on June 1, 2012. Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said: “We’re determined to continue to deliver top quality services, that’s what my staff are all about.”