Police have been given the go-ahead to start consulting on selling-off 53 stations across Scotland – and community groups will have the chance to take them over.
The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) board yesterday approved a three-month public consultation on plans to put 14% of the force estate on the market.
A dozen stations in the Highlands and islands would go up for sale under the plans, as well as five in Abedeenshire, four in Aberdeen and four in Argyll and Bute.
The majority of the properties would be sold next year, and the force believes it can secure £6.147million for the stations.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cowie told the SPA meeting in Inverness yesterday: “As you all know we inherited a large estate on April 1, 2013, some of it was Victorian and evolved over many, many decades, and whist it may have been fit at one time, it certainly has not kept pace with the evolving plan for services.
“Public expectations have changed as well and we need to have the estate to meet the demand we have.”
He added: “Those 53 premises are currently empty or soon-to-be empty. We will continue to have the same number of officers and staff.”
Mr Cowie said the force was aiming to be at the “vanguard” of new community empowerment legislation, which prioritises local groups if they have an interest in launching a buy-out bid.
“We know that there are a number places really keen that a decision is taken so they can express their interest going forward,” he said.