Earlier this week in Parliament, the Levelling Up Minister, Lucy Frazer, confirmed that the Government will move forward with a change in legislation to ensure that disused publicly owned sites like Teddington Police Station can be sold for public good.
Alongside thousands of local residents, Munira has been campaigning for the now disused Teddington Police Station site to be retained for community use, specifically a community-backed bit to turn it into new premises for Park Road Surgery, with much-needed new social and affordable housing for young people and keyworkers on top. Currently, the general practice, which has 13,000 patients in the local area, is housed in an unsuitable Victorian building across the road.
In March, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) announced it would be seeking a fresh wave of legal advice to establish whether it can sell Teddington Police Station for anything less than to the highest bidder, likely a developer of luxury flats. Doubt has arisen because the current law on the sale of publicly owned assets are outdated and obsolete.
Munira has since been working to change the law to ensure that public sector bodies, including local councils, the NHS and police and fire services, have the permissions they need to sell land and buildings for below maximum value to bids with the needs of the community at their heart. In order to achieve this, Munira tabled an amendment to the Government’s Levelling Up Bill.
Responding to Munira during the debate, the Minister confirmed that her Department would be looking into including MOPAC in the law which allows public bodies to sell for below market value to projects which provide key community benefits.
Although Munira’s new clause has not been taken up into the Bill at this stage, securing Government backing with regards to MOPAC is a huge step forward for the Teddington Police Station campaign.
Following the debate, Munira said: “I’m grateful for the support the Minister has shown in meeting with me and working with Home Office colleagues to ensure the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime can prioritise public good when selling off sites.
“This started in Teddington, but it is now part of my wider campaign to ensure all public bodies – be that the NHS, fire brigades or police forces – can prioritise public good when disposing of land.”