Old Saffron Walden police station sells as new building opens

PUBLISHED: 11:14 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:30 05 April 2017

Saffron Walden's former police station in East Street has been sold to a developer

Saffron Walden's former police station in East Street has been sold to a developer

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Saffron Walden's former police station in East Street has been sold to a housing developer for over its guide price of £1.25million.

The new police building, known as The Lodge, officially opened on TuesdayThe new police building, known as The Lodge, officially opened on Tuesday

The Grade II listed building was officially put on the market in November last year after Essex Police received no bids from community groups under an Asset of Community Value order.

It is not yet known what the developer intends to do with the plot, which is just under an acre in total, but the Reporter understands the offer accepted by the force was around £2.2m.

Estate agent Tucker Gardner confirmed the building has been sold to a housing developer, subject to terms and conditions, for over its £1.25m guide price.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “We can confirm that we have received an offer on the former police station at Saffron Walden from a potential purchaser.

The new building is officially opened. Left to right: Jane Gardner, deputy police and crime commissioner for Essex, Councillor John Davey, Uttlesford District Council chairman, Councillor Sarfraz Anjum, Saffron Walden town mayor, Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh; PCSO Mike O’Donnell-Bridge, PCSO James Graham, Acting Chief Supt Ewen Wilson, Chief Insp Craig Carrington. Picture ESSEX POLICEThe new building is officially opened. Left to right: Jane Gardner, deputy police and crime commissioner for Essex, Councillor John Davey, Uttlesford District Council chairman, Councillor Sarfraz Anjum, Saffron Walden town mayor, Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh; PCSO Mike O’Donnell-Bridge, PCSO James Graham, Acting Chief Supt Ewen Wilson, Chief Insp Craig Carrington. Picture ESSEX POLICE

“Negotiations remain at an early stage and we are unable to comment further.”

The station closed in 2015 following a chemical leak, and previous wasp and rat infestations led Essex Police to describe the building as “no longer fit for modern policing”.

The station was one of several to be sold as the force reduced its estate, which it says was costing £10m a year to run and further £30m to maintain, from 80 buildings to around 30.

Meanwhile, Essex Police’s Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh visited Saffron Walden on Tuesday to officially open a new police building in the grounds of the Uttlesford District Council (UDC) offices in London Road.

Sgt Chris Downes works in the new Lodge building. Picture: ESSEX POLICESgt Chris Downes works in the new Lodge building. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

The building, known as The Lodge, will be an operational base for officers but crime is still to be reported at the front counter within the UDC main office.

Mr Kavanagh said: “Public confidence in policing depends on our engagement in and with communities across Essex, so I’m delighted that from today we will have an operational base in Saffron Walden.

“Local and visible policing remains at the heart of how we keep Essex safe but what that looks like in reality won’t always meet expectations.

“While I know people draw comfort and reassurance from foot patrols by a ‘bobby on the beat’, I also need officers’ time to be prioritised on fighting crime and supporting vulnerable people.

“It’s a great sign of our shared commitment to community safety that Uttlesford District Council has helped make today happen.

“The Council also funds PCSOs and supports our work to recruit active citizens who contribute time and energy to the benefit of their communities. “Officers never stopped being visible in the district but this building will keep us closer to the people who need us most across Uttlesford.”

Dawn French, chief executive of Uttlesford District Council, said: “We are delighted Essex Police are now using The Lodge as an operational base.

“This ensures a visible police presence is retained in the Uttlesford district, and complements the police counter in the council reception area and the community safety hub.

“It also provides an opportunity to further strengthen the council’s close working relationship with the police which will be of greater benefit to residents.”

The public front counter in the main UDC office and is open five days a week from 9am to 5pm (8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays).

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