FEAR of crime is likely to rise following the announcement that a village police station will be sold off in an effort to cut costs, according to a parish councillor.
Great Yeldham Police Station is one of a number of buildings being sold by Essex Police as the force looks to raise £5million towards achieving savings of £42million by 2014/15.
The move to close and sell the station in High Street follows a review into the county’s police estate and a recent restructuring, with buildings that are under-used being axed.
Pat Slimming, a member of Great Yeldham Parish Council, said the decision could leave villagers having to wait longer for a police response and increased concerns about crime.
“Having the station acted as a deterrent as it showed there was a police presence nearby,” she said.
“Now the police will have to come from quite far away, whether it be Halstead or Colchester, and that is not the same.
“It is a blow to the area and something that worries people.”
Mrs Slimming, who lives in Toppesfield Road, said the parish council had made attempts to save the building, which was only upgraded a few years ago, but had been ignored.
“We have been fighting to save it but I don’t think we will be able to,” said the 64-year-old.
“It is a great shame the building will no longer be utilised as it is an ideal place for a police hub close to Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.”
In all, nine police stations, five houses and four other buildings are to be sold by the Essex force.
Chief constable Jim Barker-McCardle said the sales were driven by a commitment to provide the most “efficient and professional policing” possible.
“Faced with highly challenging budget cuts, the Essex Police Authority and the force have had to make some very tough decisions,” he said.
“Ultimately, we do not believe that lighting, heating and maintaining a building that is under utilised is the best use of Essex taxpayers’ money.
“Through our recent restructuring programme and new shift patterns, Essex Police is maximising the number of officers available to investigate crime, police the streets and respond to emergency incidents.”