THE long-awaited ‘police base’ in Bacup town centre is still empty, two years after proposals for the centre were first floated.
Residents made calls for a ‘neighbourhood policing base’ in 2011 following a series of anti-social behaviour incidents in the town.
However police have said delays mean they still do not know when the Union Street unit will open, although they do have plans to locate an extra three officers in the town from April.
It comes a month after the force revealed cost-cutting measures mean officers based at Waterfoot police station must clock on and off in Burnley from April.
Rossendale East Community Sergeant Joanne Daly said: “We’re just waiting for headquarters to give us approval to open.
“We thought we would be there by now and it’s quite frustrating.
“Police patrols should be getting increased in the new year. Being in that base in Bacup will have a big impact and will make us more visible.”
Planning permission from Rossendale Council to convert a shop unit, next to Ladbrokes bookmakers, into a police base with toilet, kitchen, dining, locker and office facilities, was granted in December 2012.
The base would be accessible to the public during designated time slots and used by officers and PCSOs.
In December 2012, it was announced that the opening had been delayed because of council rules dictating the types of window shutters which must be used within the town.
Under planning rules, shops and units within the Conservation Area of Bacup are banned from having security shutters on the outside of their windows.
Coun Jimmy Eaton, who represents Bacup, said: “It’s a real disappointment to the people of Bacup that it isn’t open yet, and it just isn’t good enough.
“If you see a police base in the town centre, it gives you peace of mind that if there is an issue the police are there on your doorstep.”
A police spokesman said three community beat officers will be based at Bacup from April, though there is no time scale as to when the policing base will open.
He said: “There have been some issues in terms of delays around getting it set up. There are a number of issues waiting to be sorted out. We are keen to get it open.”