Thumbs-up for future of Woodford Police Station but MP and councillors dismayed by Wanstead closure

Residents and councillors from the Church End, Monkhams and Roding wards outside Woodford Police Sta

Residents and councillors from the Church End, Monkhams and Roding wards outside Woodford Police Station - Credit: Archant

Residents and councillors gave the thumb-ups to a decision to keep Woodford Police Station open this morning after months of campaigning.

The station in High Road, Woodford Green, was considered vulnerable as the Met Police looks to save £60million from its running costs.

But on Monday, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime [MOPAC] announced that, following a review of the Met’s estate, Woodford will remain open although it will lose its front counter.

It will be the only police station in the west of Redbridge after it was confirmed Wanstead Police Station will close.

Lori Shearer, the co-ordinator for the Monkhams Neighbourhood Watch, started a petition to save the station.

She said: “I would have hoped that everything we worked towards has made a difference and we hope that what we’ve got will stay.”

Cllr Linda Huggett of Monkhams ward, who thanked the Recorder for its support, said: “We’re delighted it’s being kept on, it is a beating heart for our community.

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“It’s a shame we couldn’t save Wanstead.”

Both stations were placed among 65 “under-used” stations in footfall figures released by the Met Police last year and 63 front counters will close across London following the publication of MOPAC’s final police and crime plan.

Woodford will continue to act as a deployment base for police officers and safer neighbourhood teams (SNTs) but will only be open to the public as a contact point for three hours a week.

Ann Tourle, of Parkmore Close, Woodford Green, said she was very pleased with the decision.

She said: “I thought it [the station] was going to go.

“But I don’t think the contact hours are enough.”

And Cllr Jim O’Shea, of Monkhams ward, said: “I’m not happy with the hours for the public.

“But I would say coming from where we were, it’s quite a good result.”

Redbridge’s borough commander, Det Ch Supt Sue Williams, is looking at increasing the number of contact hours “with the assistance of volunteers”.

Iain Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, said: “It is a great result for residents. “Woodford needs a solid police presence.”

But the Wanstead closure is a “green light to criminals”, according to John Cryer, the MP for Leyton and Wanstead.

He said: “It is worth noting that the last time Wanstead closed burglary rates shot up.

“Without a local station, response vehicles will often have to come from Ilford, across the A406. That is a long journey and a very busy one.”

In a statement, Redbridge Council praised the decision to keep a police base in the west of the borough.

Cllr Keith Prince, the council leader, and Cllr Ian Bond, his deputy, said: “We fought hard to secure Woodford but are disappointed that we have not been able to retain Wanstead Police Station.”

“The closure of both the front counters and limited hours for contact points is likely to put increased pressure on front counters at Ilford and Barkingside.”

Cllr Chris Cummins, speaking on behalf of Wanstead and Snaresbrook councillors, said: “We are dismayed at the closure.

“While we would have preferred the operational base to be at Wanstead, [the Woodford base] will at least assist the policing of Wanstead.”