We need to draw a line underneath this saga

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Festering sore, toxic asset or white elephant? The embarrassment that is Hampshire Constabulary’s unused headquarters building has been described as all three at some point.

In January this year we thought the series of unfortunate events could be put behind us when the police force announced it had finally sold Alpha Park, having wasted millions on it but never using it.

But it seems to be far from over.

Today we can reveal the sale has been delayed after a survey found the site was contaminated by its former industrial usage.

So the building, which has already left a dent in the public purse, will now be sold at a reduced price as the unnamed buyer will have to carry out work to fix the problem.

We have said all along that the saga of Alpha Park is a disgraceful waste of cash.

For six years it has acted as a black hole, sucking taxpayers’ cash away and providing no benefit.

To learn now that the site is contaminated is another unacceptable setback.

Questions have to be asked over how the contamination was not picked up before the buyer’s survey took place this year.

The building has sat dormant since 2008 and vast sums of cash have been spent just keeping it secure.

Police officers and members of the public who have seen stations closed and services withdrawn across the area are naturally concerned that more money is to be lost on the sale.

And it all comes on top of previous revelations that the police authority paid well over the odds for the land in the first place –with money that would have been better spent protecting front-line services.

We can only hope other authorities learn from the mistakes made over Alpha Park and ensure nothing like it is allowed to drain public funds again.

And we hope there is a swift resolution so we can be rid of this enormous waste of money once and for all.