A police station is to shut and six sites are to be sold off or handed back to landlords under plans to save West Midlands Police hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Willenhall Police Station has been earmarked for closure by the force while others currently left vacant are to be sold off to raise £500,000 and cut £170,000 a year in running costs.
Under the plans most operations at Willenhall’s John Street station will be transferred to Darlaston. A ‘neighbourhood policing team’ will be retained at a new drop-in facility in Willenhall.
Critics opposed to the strategy claim it would be a backward step for policing in the borough.
Willenhall North’s councillor Ian Shires said: “I oppose these plans. People in some parts of the town are already feeling remote from the police because of ongoing issues with anti-social behaviour now they’re talking about closing the station. If that happens it will be a retrograde step.
“It might look good on paper for the force, but our experience in the Short Heath and New Invention areas is that we have just built up a good relationship with the new neighbourhood sergeant who has made a massive difference to tackling some of the issues. We are concerned that all this good work will be undone.”
Under plans,Willenhall Police Station will close and services will be reprovided. The station, in John Street, has an open front office.
In an estates update report to the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, it is noted that the Willenhall and Darlaston neighbourhood policing teams will parade from Darlaston Police Station.
Police are in conversation with Walsall Housing Group (whg) to provide a small drop-in facility in Beechdale House, in New Road, which is close to the town centre.