A CAMPAIGNING councillor has called for Leigh’s historic police station to be opened up for the community after it was returned to the control of Southend Council.

Carole Mulroney spoke as the police station, in Elm Road, was handed back to Southend Council from Essex Police.

The police station closed more than five years ago but has since remained under the control of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

Initially the Edwardian building - which had its foundation stone on August 9, 1911 - was the offices of Leigh Urban District Council before it merged with Southend Council.

The building was later made available for use by Essex Police when required and was an operational police station for many years.

However, in 2020, the site was declared “surplus” as it was no longer used or needed by police.

The police commissioner, Roger Hirst has now confirmed it will be returning back to the control of Southend Council.

Lib Dem Southend councillor Ms Mulroney, who set up a petition in 2021 calling for it to be reopened as a community asset, said: “I am delighted it will be back in the hands of the council, as proper discussions can be had about its future use.

“It is a historic building.

“Personally, in my view, and the views of a lot of people who signed the petition, we need to keep it in some sort of public use.

“It may need other things done with it to make it viable as public use doesn’t always make lots of profit.

“But, I would love it to be rented out in segments to the local community for various things.”

A spokesman for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner said: “When the Southend Police amalgamated with the Essex Constabulary in 1968 to form Essex Police, the building was made available for use by Essex Police so long as required.

“The former Leigh Police Station was declared surplus to operational policing requirements in 2020 and following discussions this building is now returning to Southend Council.”

John Lamb, Southend Tory councillor responsible for regulatory services, said: “Discussions regarding the police station returning to council control are being finalised. The council will consider the next steps and future uses once those discussions are finished and when the former police station formally reverts to its control.”