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South Lakes MP Tim Farron has launched a last minute bid to help save Ambleside Police Station from being sold at auction onTuesday.The Ambleside Community Land Trust tried to buy the former police station in Rydal Road, planning to turn the property into an affordable home for a local family, but talks recently collapsed. The building has instead been put up for auction with a guide price of between £100,000 and £125,000. The Community Land Trust say their bid exceeded the guide price for the property.
Police stations in Ambleside, Cleator Moor, Cockermouth and Kirkby Stephen will go under the auctioneer’s hammer at Old Trafford football ground in Manchester on July 10.
In the MP's letter to members of the Police Authority Board he says:
Further to my email of 25 June, I am most concerned that Cumbria Police Authority is continuing with its plans to sell the former Police Station at Ambleside via auction. As I am sure you aware, Ambleside Community Land Trust (CLT) submitted a bid for the former police station in Rydal Road last year after the authority announced that the station would be sold.
Their bid was sadly rejected and now the building has been put up for auction with a guide price of between £100,000 and £125,000. Aside from the wasted months of work that have been carried out by the CLT and your authority in an effort to turn the building it into an affordable home, I understand that the CLTs bid beat the guide price for the property!
I am deeply saddened that discussions have stalled. I am therefore writing to ask that you remove the property from the auction and agree to resume immediate negotiations with the CLT,
South Lakeland District Council and other interested parties to strive for a way forward.
I am most concerned that the opportunity is being lost for the Police Authority to give something back to the community it serves. I also worry at the potentially damaging effect this will have on our area's perception of the way Cumbria Police Authority operates. In an area in which we pride ourselves on our strong community links and public values, I cannot help but feel that this decision flies in the face of all that.
I would be most grateful for the opportunity to discuss this with you after the weekend, and hope that you will be available on Monday.