25 years ago this week from March 3, 1989 Police were stripped of the ability to patrol the Eden Walk shopping precinct, the Surrey Comet reported 25 years ago this week.
The shopping mall had become a no-go area for uniformed police after being privatised.
It was sold by Kingston Council to the property firm CIN Properties for more than £17m.
Labour Councillor Steve Mama said: “It’s like selling the family silver to pay the servants.
“Selling Eden Walk now may bring in short term gain but is it to the longer term benefit of ratepayers?”
Its sale was agreed in a secret session held by Kingston Council, and by selling forewent the rent the council received from the stores, which exceeded £1.1m.
Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and BHS all feared that less policing could lead to trouble for the stores.
A police spokesman told the Comet that the new Eden Walk would be “like any football ground.”
He said: “We would have to be invited in, and they would pay us to go in there” – but claimed police would not let the mall become a thieves’ sanctuary.
One suggestion was to hire private security guards, in addition to the shops’ own detectives, to deter would-be shoplifters.
While Tory councillor Gavin French admitted this had not come up in discussions, SLD councillor Steve Harris said he foresaw no problem with police presence.
Other shopping centres that had been privatised, including Croydon’s Whitgift Centre, had experienced security problems because of police patrol absences.
He added: “I know that it’s not a good time to sell anything at the moment, but it’s an opportunity when there may not be one in the future.”
As part of the package with CIN, Kingston Council also received the freehold of its Guildhall One development, worth about £4m to the borough.
l Got memories of the borough you wish to share? Email newsdesk@surrey comet.co.uk.
50 YEARS AGO: March 4, 1964
Rainfall in Kingston and Teddington from December 1 to February 29 was a mere 38 per cent of normal weather.
Of the 91 days, fewer than 34 had measurable rain.
Only once before in
1933-34 did the winter prove drier. Rainfall then was
1.73in as against 2.15in in
25 YEARS AGO: March 3, 1989
At least 200 shops, offices and homes in Surbiton were left without electricity because of flooding.
Thames Water investigated the flooding which occurred at an electricity power station.
It said builders who were demolishing Winthrop House in Station Approach may have damaged a 1½ in supply pipe.
10 YEARS AGO: March 5, 2004
Thoughtless dog owners were scolded for desecrating graves and endangering public health by dumping excrement in Kingston cemetery.
Howard Greenoff, bereavement services manager, said: “These are respectable citizens – who take the trouble to scoop their pets’ mess. But they then chuck it over the cemetery fence.”