Ampthill ‘nick’ to be sold

Ampthill Police Sation
Ampthill Police Sation

Ampthill Police Station ­– including the cell where A6 murderer James Hanratty was once locked up – is to be sold.

Bedfordshire Police closed the famous nick earlier this year and moved operations to a new “hub” in Flitwick.

Now the building in Woburn Street has been put up for auction with offers invited before November 5.

Auctioneers Lambert Smith Hampton, of St Albans, say redevelopment of the site for various uses “may be acceptable”.

But they warn planning permission would be necessary for any change of use.

A spokesman said: “The Police and Crime Commissioner is not bound to accept the highest offer or any offer and reserves the right to enter into negotiations with any party.”

The site, measuring .88 acres, includes the former magistrates’ court where Hanratty first appeared in the dock after his arrest.

He became one of the last people to be hanged in Britain when he went to the gallows in Bedford for murdering Michael Gregsten in 1961.

The prosecution said that he shot Gregsten and raped his girlfriend Valerie Storey in a layby on the A6 at Deadman’s Hill near Clophill.

Since then though there have been several high-profile campaigns to clear his name, claiming that he was innocent.

Speculation was growing in Ampthill this week over what the site – which also includes garages, workshops and kennels where police dogs were once kept – might be used for.

Many residents suspect it will be used to build yet more houses in the historic Georgian market town.

Others fear it could be turned into a drive-thru McDonald’s while many wanted it razed and turned into a car park.

The auctioneers describe Ampthill as “an affluent historic market town”. They add: “The property is located in a mixed residential / employment area close to Ampthill Park. “It benefits from excellent transport links, with the A507 providing access to Junction 13 of the M1 .

“A fast regular service (approximately one hour travelling time) into London’s Kings Cross and Blackfriars is available via Flitwick railway station.”

In fact the train service runs into St Pancras station and not Kings Cross.