It is ‘extraordinary’ future of Wanstead station is in question again, says MP John Cryer

It is “extraordinary” that the survival of Wanstead police station is again under threat, according to MP John Cryer.

Speaking to the Recorder this morning, Mr Cryer said it was the third time the station’s future has been called into question since he became the Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead in 2010.

He said: “It’s extraordinary.

“If you take the presence of Wanstead police station from the community, you decrease the police presence in an area that has a high burglary rate.

“The station is there as a deterrent.”

The Met Police is reviewing its stock of about 800 buildings in London as it looks to make budget savings and Redbridge borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams has said the outcome for Wanstead station, in Spratt Hall Road, and Woodford station, in High Road, Woodford Green, is uncertain.

Contingency plans to base Safer Neighbourhood officers in Barkingside or Leytonstone are being considered.

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Mr Cryer met with Wanstead and Woodford councillors this morning.

Cllr Jim O’Shea, of Monkhams ward, said: “If Wanstead and Woodford stations are both closed, that means there isn’t any place within five miles that people can report crimes to.

“I don’t want to go down the road of alternatives because we don’t want to talk about Woodford station closing.

“What we need is a shop front premises for the police, so people can go in and report crimes and if they have any other problems, any concerns about the security of their homes.

“The point is the police have to come from somewhere which will be further away and that doesn’t help the speed of response.”

He said a petition could be organised in Woodford to be presented to “those who are making the decision”.

A petition signed by more than 2,100 people in Wanstead has put that station on the agenda of Redbridge Council’s meeting on September 20.

Cllr Chris Cummins, of Snaresbrook ward, said: “A closure would have a detrimental impact on the quality of policing in Wanstead and it’s something we must oppose.

“It would certainly have an impact on response times if they [the police] are called to incidents.

“If they’re stuck in Leytonstone, they’d have to negotiate the Green Man roundabout which isn’t the easiest of things at the best of times.

“The presence in Wanstead also reassures the public, particularly older people.”

And Cllr Hugh Cleaver, of Church End ward, said: “They [the Met] shouldn’t look at the buildings in isolation.

“They need to think how it would affect their ability to police the area.”

He added that should the stations be selected for closure, councillors and residents would lobby the Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly members on the policing committee.

The Met will make recommendations to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime this autumn on which buildings could be sold. Iain Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, wasn’t available to comment this morning.

Mrs Williams told a public meeting in July: “If we don’t make the savings then those savings have to come elsewhere.”

She said all Redbridge wards would keep their safer neighbourhood teams.