Hopes over new Stourbridge police base at Citizens Advice office
Police officers look set to stay in Stourbridge, with the region's force in talks to take over a disused building in the town centre.
The former Citizens Advice Bureau base in Market Street has been lined up to become the new home of police in Stourbridge.
Dudley Council owns the building and has allowed the police to look at whether it is suitable to house officers, with a deal thought to be close.
The positive talks have been hailed in the town and follow disappointment at the closure of the main police stationtwo years ago.
There were fears the loss of the police station on the Stourbridge ring road would leave the town without a police presence but if the move to Market Street is confirmed it means police will remain.
Officers have been based in the Ryemarket shopping centre since but the force is keen to find a permanent base.
Sixteen officers would be based in the building, split between two shifts, if the deal is agreed. The base would not be open to the public.
Alan Lunt, strategic director for place directorate and chief executive of Dudley Council, said: “We have been in talks with police for some time to find them a suitable base in Stourbridge. We are pleased we have been able to secure one of our buildings in Market Street which will ensure police remain present and visible in the town.”
Ward councillor Steve Clark, who has been part of the discussions, said: "I think it's very promising. It is really encouraging as this is something that needs to happen."
He added: "We have had an increase in crime in Stourbridge. My job as a councillor is to push as hard as I can to get that police presence there. I was not happy with the decision to close the police station."
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: "Bringing our services direct to the public is a key part of the West Midlands Police estate changes aimed at improving the services we provide to the public, as well as saving money.
"The estate team are currently looking at options to base Stourbridge neighbourhood teams within the heart of the community. One option is the Citizens Advice building in Market Street but, at this stage, it is one of a number of options while the team are exploring different locations."
The historic Stourbridge police station, which dated back to the Victorian era, shut its doors in June 2017 in a bid to save police cash and is set to be converted into flats.
The station was closed despite protests led by Dudley North MP Ian Austin, as part of West Midlands Police’s plan to shut 28 in the region, saving a total of £8.6 million.
The closures also included stations in Netherton, Dudley town centre, Halesowenand Kingswinford.