Commercial property: Variety ups interest of former police stations

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The sale of redundant police buildings around Scotland which was announced last month throws up an interesting challenge to those involved in the valuation and marketing of such a diverse range of sites - from tiny island buildings to vast city complexes.

Shepherd Chartered Surveyors was appointed by the Scottish Police Authority to coordinate, manage and deliver the sale of 30 police buildings throughout Scotland.

The 30 properties, the vast majority of which have been empty for some time, were identified following a public consultation exercise by Police Scotland.

The first tranche of 21 of properties which have been released onto the market are former police stations which have a variety of potential uses.

Steve Barnett, managing partner at Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, is coordinating the commission.

He says: “We were appointed to dispose of these surplus assets throughout Scotland, in the Highlands, Aberdeen, Stirling, Perthshire and Glasgow.

“We have inspected all the buildings and given our valuations and reports back to Police Scotland and we are now marketing them individually throughout our network of offices.”

He says that the sites vary significantly, both in style and price. “We have two in Shetland, one of which, Whalsay, has as an asking price of £25,000, up to the largest one in Anderston, Glasgow which is priced at offers over £800,000.”

While the bigger police stations, such as the Anderston site, cannot be described as the most aesthetically pleasing of architectural styles, Rennie says that many of the smaller police stations would have been built originally as attractive residential houses and will be of interest to those wanting to convert them back into homes.

“It will also be a mixture of buyers because the lot sizes are so varied. The vast majority of those in the Highlands and the Aberdeen area will be for residential conversion.

“Some were purpose built as police offices, but some were originally beautiful houses.

“The one in Kenmay (in North East Scotland), for instance, is a sandstone detached four-bedroomed house with its own garden.”

He says that so far the locations other than Glasgow have attracted interest from private buyers or those looking for a small project.

In Glasgow, the size of the sites will mean that the most likely outcome of a purchase will be to demolish the existing buildings and an alternative use found, with newbuild commercial or residential property.

Rennie says that the location of these police stations is also an attraction because particularly in cities they are key sites. “The Anderston one has already attracted over 50 notes of interest and another site in Glasgow has 45 notes of interest.

“They are strategic positions and big sites so they are attracting development.”

Police Scotland announced plans for a public consultation on the future of some of its buildings following a review of its entire estate in September last year.

Across Scotland, 53 properties which are no longer used were earmarked for closure.

The instruction to market the 21 properties follows a competitive tendering process via the Crown Commercial Service Estates Professional Services Framework, to which Shepherd was appointed last year.

The appointment allows key stakeholders, such as central and local government departments, health, education and emergency service organisations, to place orders with the chartered surveyor for commercial property services throughout Scotland.