POLICE chiefs have defended closing a Fylde coast station – despite almost a quarter of all responses to a county-wide consultation being in favour of saving it.
A total of 11,000 people took part in Lancashire Constabulary’s consultation about station closures in the county, with 3,500 of them calling on the force to save Poulton station.
But today Chief Supt Richard Bayly defended the decision to close the town centre facility, which will shut alongside Lytham, Cleveleys, Freckleton and the front counters at South Shore and Garstang.
He told The Gazette: “It was a sensitive decision and I understand people’s concerns.
“There were lots of reasons around the decision to close Poulton station – one being that as the divisional commander I don’t need Poulton police station to deliver services within Wyre.
“I moved my response officers to Fleetwood and the neighbourhood policing base is at the civic centre.
“The main function of that station now is front desk.”
Residents claim the value of the building was a factor in the decision but Chief Supt Bayly said the station – which needs around £200,000 spending on it – was not worth as much as people may think.
He also said discussions had yet to begin with Wyre Council about locating the desk in the civic centre on Breck Road, and said other locations would be considered.
Carol Woolley, from Poulton Civic Society, said: “It is not central to have the desk in the civic centre, the police station has been there for 200 years and it is a disappointment.”
Thousands also signed petitions in Lytham, but the area’s Chief Superintendent Richard Debicki said the station – along with the front counter at South Shore – simply was not being used enough.
He added: “Truth be told, people were not using the facility and going through the doors at Lytham.
“It’s got a very prominent position on the high street and I think people do know it’s there but people these days are choosing to make contact with the police in different ways.”
Chief Supt Debicki also said the proximity of South Shore to the Blackpool central station at Bonny Street had been a factor in closing the counter, but Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said he was “disappointed” by the decision to close the community facility after problems with anti-social behaviour in the area.
He added the constabulary would need to ensure contact numbers were now “prominently” displayed outside the South Shore premises.