Former Chelmsford police station set to become local community centre
A group of residents are set to turn a former Chelmsford police station into a new community hub thanks to the help of Essex County Council, Essex Police and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston.
Moulsham Lodge Community Trust is seeking to transform the empty police station in Gloucester Avenue into a community hub for local residents to use. The aim is for the site to be used by the local community to stage events, run courses and even hire out rooms to local organisations.
Essex County Council has been working with the Trust to find a new venue after its previous community centre in Waltham Green closed in 2005.
It has now negotiated a one-year lease for the former police station with Essex Police which it will then sublet to the trust. Discussions will continue over the year to see if the council is able to purchase the site and provide a more permanent lease for the trust.
The site still requires planning permission and some general maintenance work before it can open. However, it is hoped the local community will be able to make a success of the venue.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Moulsham Lodge was one of the former police buildings identified for closure and sale as part of the Essex Police Reform programme.
“We took the approach that, if it would be possible and appropriate for these former police buildings to continue to be used to serve the local community, then we would look to make that happen. I am pleased that in this case that was possible and I’m delighted to see the building will be put to good use to the benefit of the local community.”
Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for families and children and the county and city ward councillor, said: “I am delighted that the County Council, Police and Crime Commissioner, Essex Police and the Trust working together have found a new home for this much-needed community hub.
“The new venue is in a more prominent position within the local community than the original centre and this announcement can only be good news for local residents.
“The one-year lease gives the Trust and the local community the chance to develop a vibrant and exciting centre. We will continue to work with Essex Police and the Trust over the coming year to see if we can turn this into a more permanent arrangement.”
Moulsham Lodge Community Trust was set up to bring community facilities back to the local area of Moulsham Lodge and Tile Kiln.
Trust Chairman Mark Springett, who is a Chelmsford City councillor, said: “Our objective is for the trust to run the police station as a community hub, running events, courses, hiring rooms to local organisations and maybe running a basic community café.
“The future is looking great and as we develop our initiatives and connections with other local organisations we will be the hub for reaching out to the community.”