A FORMER police station will be turned into homes for key workers, war veterans and residents after being left empty and unused for three years.

Wickford Police Station has been sold by Essex Police to developer Sempra Homes.

The homes, on London Road, will be shared ownership and affordable rent, with Gavin Callaghan, leader of Basildon Council, insisting the development will help people get on the property ladder.

He said: “This is great news for Wickford that a key site such as this will now provide housing opportunities after being disused for so long.

“We couldn’t miss this opportunity to quickly increase the supply of new homes and make them available to local people in need.

“Once built, these new homes will be marketed to veterans of the armed forces, the borough’s key workers and residents to give them the opportunity to get on the property ladder and put down roots in the borough.

“We’re pleased to have been able to work with our public sector partners to ensure land and assets are made best use of for the benefit of our residents.”

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, says the money used from the sale of the site will be invested back into Essex Police.

He said: “We are really glad that we have got such a community minded buyer for this former police station.

“We need to deliver as much funding to frontline operational policing as possible rather than pour money into maintaining buildings that have long since ceased to be viable for the demands of modern policing.”

Sempra, Basildon Council’s house building company, will develop the site as part of the council’s new homes programme.

Melanie Keys, manager of Sempra Homes, added: “We are delighted to have acquired this site to bring forward for new housing. The scheme will be designed to enhance the street scene with additional benefits provided through the provision of work opportunities to residents.”