Ruin to be reborn, but what about cop shop?

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It has been more than a year since Berkhamsted Police Station closed its doors to the public – but its former High Street home still lies empty.

Nearby Birtchnells menswear outlet collapsed mysteriously in January 2011 – but a new shop with three two-bedroom flats above it will soon rise from the rubble.

Developers Sorbon Estates say that, after winning planning permission for the four-storey building, work on it will begin later this month.

The shop will be free to let from August 2013, and the flats to buy from September 2013.

Sorbon managing director Karl Elliott said: “We are actively marketing the retail space now and are very keen to work with good quality independent or national retailers. As a business that takes a long-term view of its property investments, we are very conscious of attracting the right type of retailer who can add character to the street and the town.”

The police station, meanwhile, was put up for sale by Hertfordshire Police Authority earlier this year – but, despite receiving much interest, has since been withdrawn from the market.

Annabel Maghie, spokesman for Herts Police, said the force had saved £50,000 a year in running costs by down-sizing its Berkhamsted base.

She said it was withdrawn ‘to enable us to develop a joint approach with partner organisations with the aim of maximising the building’s benefit to local communities’.

She said: “With public-owned adjacent properties, there is potential for providing public services at a single central site. This work is in progress.”

Proposals on what to do with the site are due to be considered in March by the new Herts Police and Crime Commissioner, who will be elected next Thursday.