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WALTHAMSTOW: Police station put up for sale
Walthamstow's only police station has been put up for sale.
The building in Forest Road has been closed since September 2011 when a mentally ill man broke in and set fire to it.
But earlier this summer the Met hinted it could not afford the estimated £100,000 repair bill and had moved staff to Chingford police station.
Now the force has confirmed the station will be sold off as part of a cost-cutting exercise, leaving E17 without a round-the-clock front counter service.
An advert for the building appeared in the property website Zoopla 24 hours before an official announcement.
A Met spokesman said: "The building is already vacant, having previously been under-occupied meaning it was larger than needed and costly to run and maintain.
James Pitman, chairman the nearby Winns Terrace Residents' Association, said he was very disappointed at news of the closure.
"When you have a local police station you get to know the officers and there’s very good communication with the residents, but this is taking that away," he said.
"It’s a great, beautiful building so you can bet it will probably be sold to a property developer and converted into flats.
"I understand the police are having to cut costs but they could have made much greater use of the building. You could rent out some of the space for community groups, events, training, not just for police use - it could have been a real community asset."
The news comes amid major financial pressures on the Met, which has an annual budget of £3.7 billion.
It needs to make cuts of £769 million between 2011 and 2015 in order to balance the books.
These plans include cutting its workforce by 3,280 - of which 1,410 are police officer posts.
It will consult the public on a proposal to close Scotland Yard in central London and move to a smaller headquarters in the Embankment.
Abdul Saddiqi, 38, of Pendleston Road in Walthamstow, was sentenced in May to detention at a mental health unit for carrying out the arson attack on the building.
Chingford Police Station in King's Head Hill remains the borough's only 24 hour station, while there are also branches in Kirkdale Road, Leytonstone, and Francis Road in Leyton.
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