THE planned sale of Donegall Pass PSNI station has been slammed by a local councillor who has warned the station is vital for public safety due to the high number of pubs and clubs nearby.

The PSNI have confirmed that two stations in South Belfast will be sold off – Donegal Pass and Ballynafeigh – but the former Chair of the local District Policing Partnership sub-group has said he is “at a loss” to understand why Donegall Pass, which is currently closed to the public, is facing the chop.

Councillor Chris Stalford said the location of the station was ideal for policing the nearby “Golden Mile” nightlife hub, and he also warned the current state of the property market could see the police getting their hands burned financially.

“The Chief Constable takes the decisions about which stations are no longer necessary, but I’m at a loss as to why anyone would argue Donegall Pass station isn’t necessary, given the area in which it is located,” Cllr Stalford said.

“We have a busy nighttime economy there and people would feel much safer knowing a station was open and available nearby in emergencies. As for Ballynafeigh, why is it being sold now after so much money was put into revamping it in recent years?

The DUP man continued: “I hope that the PSNI can provide cast-iron assurances that any money that is saved by this development will be redirected into front-line policing, but given the state of the property market such savings could be minimal.”

A PSNI spokesman said: “We want to reassure the public that any reduction in the police estate does not equate with a reduction in service and that we will continue to work with the Policing Board, local communities and representatives to develop and implement innovative and flexible policing initiatives, which will bring policing right to the heart of communities when and where it is needed.”