Grenfell community could take over Notting Hill police station if it closes

Francesca Gillett
Closure plan: Notting Hill police station: Google

The community hit by the Grenfell Tower tragedy could take over Notting Hill police station if plans to close the base go ahead.

The Met Police is considering selling their station off Ladbroke Grove in west London as part of the force’s plan to find £400 million of savings by 2020.

Residents have been fighting to save the base, which is less than a mile from Grenfell Tower, claiming the proposed closure would risk “severing ties” with the community.

This week Kensington and Chelsea Council announced the building had been listed as an Asset of Community Value in a small boost for campaigners trying to save the station.

Although an ACV listing does not protect the building from being sold off by the Met, it means if the closure does go ahead the community has a six-month chance to buy the site and use it themselves.

Despite the small win, the council said the priority remains to save the station, which costs £400,000 to run.

71 people died in the fire, including a still born baby. (PA Wire/PA Images)

More than 2,000 people have now signed a petition to keep it open and the council has spent months lobbying the Mayor and Government to keep the branch open.

"The residents of North Kensington have been campaigning to keep Notting Hill Police Station open and we have been fighting by their side,” said council member for communities, Cllr Mary Weale.

“We strongly oppose the closure which is particularly insensitive in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. For many residents the police station is a tangible sign of police presence, commitment and security.

“The question the Mayor needs to answer is what will happen to the residents of North Kensington in two years’ time. He is trying to remove 24-hour counter services from the area by the backdoor. The proposed counter near Grenfell will only open part of the day and will be gone by 2020.

“I welcome the recognition of the police station as an ACV, which it certainly is. We will continue to fight for our police station and I hope it sends out a clear message to the Mayor, Met Police and anyone looking at buying the site that we will do all we can to support our local community and the services they need.”

Scotland Yard is planning to shut half of London’s police stations and investigate more crimes by telephone and online.

Paul Warnett, the acting borough commander for Kensington and Chelsea, previously told a public meeting that Notting Hill station’s 24/7 counter only received four crime reports a day.

It comes as the Met confirmed the final death toll in the devastating June 14 fire is 71, including a stillborn baby.