Saffron Walden Police Station to be sold for housing and put on market in autumn
- Credit: Archant
Saffron Walden’s police station will be sold for housing and placed on the market in the autumn, according to Essex’s new police and crime commissioner (PCC).
Conservative Roger Hirst, who was the successful candidate in the county’s PCC election on May 5, says that with a new policing base at the offices of Uttlesford District Council close to being operational, the force are looking to sell the current station.
A planning application will be submitted by Essex Police in the next few weeks to convert the East Street site into residential use, and once resolved, the building will go on the market.
The town’s police station has been plagued with problems over the last two years – in 2014 it was closed due to both rat and wasp infestations, and last October, a chemical leak shut the building indefinitely.
Essex Police says its new facilities at UDC, which include a front desk in the main building that opened in April and a separate building to house officers, are more suitable for modern policing.
Mr Hirst said: “Now that we have secured a long term operational policing presence in Saffron Walden, with the help and cooperation of the town and district councils, we will be looking to sell the existing Saffron Walden police station in the near future.
“As PCC, I have a duty to dispose of public assets for the best available consideration, so a planning application for conversion of the police station site to residential use will be submitted in the next few weeks.
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“Once the planning application has been resolved, the site will be marketed for sale, hopefully this autumn.
“With regard to the new operational policing base in the council offices, the final documentation is currently being processed.
“There will then need to be some work to ensure the new premises are suitable for police operational purposes. I am optimistic that Essex Police will be working from their new home in Saffron Walden this autumn, liaising ever more closely with partner agencies to keep local people safe.”
Saffron Walden town councillor Doug Perry, who is a former police officer, said: “From my point of view, it’s very disappointing and a real shame for the town.
“But at least we will still have a base in Saffron Walden. My worry is that residents do not know that the front desk is now operating from the UDC offices and will not use it.
“This will then give the police another excuse to close it. It’s important that people in the town know it’s there and use it before they lose it.
“I am told by the police that there will be 40 officers operating on a shift basis from the Lodge building at UDC, but that remains to be seen.
“Residents want a visible presence of policing in the town and surrounding areas, and since the cuts made to PCSOs, we have not had that.”