Saffron Walden charity told no discount will be offered on town’s £1.5m police station

Saffron Walden Police Station. Picture: SaffronPhoto

Saffron Walden Police Station. Picture: SaffronPhoto - Credit: Archant

A Saffron Walden-based sight charity interested in buying the town’s police station has been told the force wants £1.5million for the site - with no discount offered.

Support4Sight, currently based in George Street, is keen to find a new head office within Saffron Walden to expand their services, and have earmarked the town’s police station as a potential site.

As covered in the Reporter last week, the East Street station is listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), which gives community groups with an interest in the property six months to raise the necessary funds to table a bid - but an ACV order does not require the owner to sell at a discount.

However, the charity’s trustees have been informed that Essex Police is expecting to achieve around £1.5m for the pair of three bedroom semi-detached former police houses.

Gary Hyams, trustee at Support4Sight, said: “We are looking for a new head office which would hopefully enable us to expand the valuable services we offer our members and clients, as well as to enable to bring far more visually impaired people into our offices for access to equipment demonstrations, training and social events.

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“Also, it would mean that we would be able to retain our existing employees who are all residents of the town and likely employ additional people too.

“But it has be to at a sensible price, £1.5m is out of our range. Surely community groups who are looking to put the building to good use for the benefit of a charity should receive a discounted price?”

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Residents for Uttlesford Councillor John Lodge said: “With the Fairycroft House sale in Saffron Walden, a fair price was achieved between the two parties after lengthy negotiations, but that was a very different situation.”

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “The police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Essex, as owner of the police estate, has a duty to achieve best market value on all disposals. We are therefore unable to offer buildings at a discounted rate.

“However Essex Police and the PCC positively support community use of any of our former buildings and as such we are happy to progress interest from community groups and charities where we receive it.”

She confirmed talks are progressing with Support4Sight.

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