Exclusive: Police station to become offices and homes after bid accepted
Developer eyes up workspaces for Grade-II listed building after £10m deal
10 September, 2021 — By Harry Taylor
Hampstead Police Station
AN OFFER for the former Hampstead Police Station has been accepted which could see it turned into offices and homes, the New Journal has been told.
The Grade-II listed former home to officers in the north of the borough has been empty since 2013, and has become a white elephant to the Department for Education (DfE). It had two applications to turn it into a home for Abacus Belsize Primary School rejected, the latest by the planning inspector in late-2020.
The DfE then put it up for sale earlier this year. It had bought it for £14.1m from MOPAC, and buyers Redington Capital said the deal to buy it is worth about £10m.
James Frost, owner of development and investment company Redington Capital said the deal was due to be completed next month. The Hampstead resident said he had been a long-time admirer of the building.
“It’s a beautful building, I’ve loved it for 25 years, it’s an absolutely iconic building. We’ve met the neighbours, we’re not looking to extend it or do massive amounts of work, we want it as it is. We want to work with people locally and the local authority to see what is possible.”
A DfE spokesperson confirmed a week ago that the property is under offer, but the sale is yet to be finalised. The property has been marketed by Cushman Wakefield, and Mr Frost said completion was not reliant on planning permission – which has proven to be a thorn in the side of the building’s future in the last decade.
He is looking to submit formal detailed plans in the next 12 months, with work then set to take “a couple of years” if approved. Rumours of a restaurant being involved in the potential mix-used development were not true, he added.
The former station house, which adjoins the station, would be partitioned off and sold as a home. Coach house stables at the back of the house would be sold to be converted into either more offices or housing. The building also contains the former Hampstead Magistrates’ Court and police cells.
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The 53-year-old said: “We think we want to just do all offices. We want to go through the path of least resistance. It will either be all offices or some flats in with it. We’re happy with either.
“What we want to do is sit down with the council and see what they want us to do with it. We’re very comfortable with office or residential.
“I like beautiful buildings and I love Hampstead, it’s one of my favourite places. I think it was crazy what they were trying to do with the school, I don’t blame the residents. I think we’re all aligned, and they’ve said they’d love beautiful high-quality offices in Hampstead.”
Andrew Neale, chair of the Hampstead Community for Responsible Development, which objected to plans to turn the police station into a primary school said: “We’ve got no issues in principle. It’s all down to the detail which we’re hoping to see in due course.”
The Heath and Hampstead Society’s planning committee chair, David Castle agreed and said the society would be waiting for more information. He added: “Speaking personally, I wouldn’t be against it in principle. I think it’s a very fine listed building and if you think, it was a workplace before, so it being offices would be in a similar guise.
“I think it would be quite good. I’m pleased to see it being used for work reasons, it would be a shame if it changed totally for housing.”
An application to convert it into a school was rejected by a planning inspector last year over issues with noise, the amount of pollution children would be subjected to and damage to the building’s heritage. Councillors had previously raised concerns about an increase in air pollution and traffic, as the saga over whether the academy school would move in stretched on for several years.
Anthem, the trust that runs Abacus decided not to appeal the decision, and the school is in advanced talks to move on to the Haverstock secondary school site, in Haverstock Hill.
The building was vandalised in late October last year as youngsters held a rave at Halloween, which saw it daubed in paint as partiers caused damage to it.