A POLICE presence is desperately needed in Prestatyn, say councillors negotiating with North Wales Police for a new police station in the town.
At a meeting at the council’s Ruthin headquarters, when rubberstamping Denbighshire’s 3.8% council tax rise, a concerned councillor demanded that a new police station is opened in Prestatyn.
Cllr Hugh Irving revealed talks are currently ongoing between council officers and the police, who are investigating the possibility of the police station opening in an unspecified building in the town’s centre.
Denbighshire’s leader and Labour councillor Jason McLellan also vowed to take up the matter with the police and crime commissioner but not without taking a swipe at the Tories, accusing the party of police cuts across the UK.
Cllr Hugh Irving, a Conservative, said: “I note that the police and crime panel and the police and crime commissioner’s budget has increased slightly, which in effect means that every property in Denbighshire pays at least £333 towards police services, probably more in a lot of cases in higher-rated properties.
“The concern I’ve got is that I represent Prestatyn, so I’m speaking now about Prestatyn and my central ward. We contribute these funds for the provision of police facilities, which we are extremely grateful for and extremely happy about, except for the fact that Prestatyn is the only significant community in North Wales that does not have its own police station facilities. It is an appalling omission.
“I worked on it in my five years as our representative on the police and crime panel. I had a very good rapport with the senior leadership team at North Wales Police before I finished my term of office there, and I understand Denbighshire is committed to providing premises for those facilities for the town centre.
“What I’m asking the council to do today is pass a resolution asking the police to do all they possibly can to successfully conclude those negotiations to bring those police station facilities back into Prestatyn where they rightfully should be.”
He added: “Prestatyn is a growing community. We are getting planning applications all around, houses here, houses there. We’ve got social problems within the town. We need those facilities in Prestatyn.
“So if the council would support me today and pass a resolution, asking officers to try and conclude their negotiations with North Wales Police, regarding the premises we can make available as soon as possible please?”
But Cllr Irving was told by council officers the resolution wasn’t relevant to the decision to rubberstamp the council tax rise.
Cllr Eryl Williams then added: “I agree very much. There are many places that haven’t got a police station. We don’t see anything in our towns, never mind our villages or rural areas.”
Chief executive Graham Boase said the matter would be rediscussed at a future council meeting.
“Cllr Irving is aware there are negotiations and discussions ongoing between Denbighshire County Council and North Wales Police because there is a potential property in Prestatyn that the police have shown interest in, so I’ll take that back to officers and ask them to keep the Prestatyn members updated,” he said.
Leader Cllr Jason McLellan then said he would campaign for a new police station but took the opportunity to blame the Conservatives for a lack of police presence in North Wales.
“Now that debate has been reopened, I can’t resist the urge to remind the Conservative group that 21,000 police officers have been cut from the UK’s police force since 2010. If we retained police officers, we might have more police stations to put them in.”
He added: “I’ll be leading a campaign for a police station in Prestatyn. I have a good relationship with Andy Dunbobbin, the police and crime commissioner, so I’ll be speaking to Andy about this.”