Aughton Police Point’s future is once again uncertain as Aughton Parish Council have failed to sign the deal with Lancashire Police and Merseyrail brokered two and a half years ago by West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper.
In 2011 Lancashire Police published their Front Counter and Estates review which recommended the closure of Aughton Police Point on 31st March 2012 located at Town Green train station. Aughton residents opposed the closure plans. At this point Rosie Cooper MP met with the police, Merseyrail and the parish council to save the police point.
The deal agreed saw Merseyrail waive the rent and the police agreeing to cover the running costs.This left Aughton Parish Council responsible for reduced business rates. Yet 30 months later the deal has yet to be signed.
According to information received by MP Rosie both Lancashire Police and Merseyrail are committed to the deal going ahead but Aughton Parish Council are dragging their feet, incurring significant legal costs and looking for someone else to pay them.
MP Rosie Cooper said:
“When Aughton Police Point’s future was under threat in 2011 due to police budget cuts, residents wanted to keep the service and we were able to find a solution to save the community-based police point.
“The deal agreed to keep the police point was fantastic and Aughton Parish Council should have bitten off the hands of Lancashire Police and Merseyrail to sign that contract. Yet two and a half years on they continue to dither.
“Aughton Parish Council’s sheer ineptitude to still be negotiating this deal in March 2014 is unbelievable. With the deal unsigned and the patience of Lancashire Police and Merseyrail running out as each day passes the future of the police point grows ever more uncertain. The Parish Council need to put residents first and complete this agreement in the simplest cheapest way possible. If they can’t manage it perhaps they should make way for people who can.
“Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
“I believe Aughton Parish Council needs to offer a full and honest explanation of the reasons for delaying signing this deal. It also needs to start acting in the interest of those residents who called for Aughton Police Point to be saved.”