10:45AM, Thursday 01 May 2014
The decision to shut a town centre police office has been defended by the town's top cop after criticism and a plea for the force to reconsider.
The base at the Rotunda, near Sainsbury's in Providence Place, will shut on Tuesday.
The move will leave Maidenhead Police Station in Bath Road as the nearest manned site to the town centre.
The Maidenhead Central neighbourhood team, made up of police and PCSOs and based at the Rotunda, will operate from the station.
Local Policing Area (LPA) commander for Windsor and Maidenhead, Superintendent Kate Ford, said 'robust plans' are in place to ensure there is still a visible police presence in the town centre.
She added that 'most' people prefer using phones, email and social media to contact the police instead of dropping in at a station.
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said the move will save the force £26,000 a year.
He added that the tenancy agreement gave the police a window to leave now, otherwise it would have to stay in Providence Place until 2019.
The closure has been criticised by the Royal Borough.
Cllr Carwyn Cox (Con, Hurley and Walthams) cabinet member for community safety, said the borough council is 'bitterly disappointed' and described the decision as unnecessary and a step in the wrong direction.
He added: "We have actively worked towards making it easier for residents and visitors throughout the borough to access the police."
The town’s Conservative group describes the Bath Road station as 'far more inaccessible and distant' than the Rotunda office.
Royal Borough leader David Burbage (Con, Bray) has condemned the move.
He said: "This is an unwelcome step. Police should surely be promoting and increasing their physical presence in Maidenhead town centre, not retreating away from it."
He added the Rotunda office has been 'poorly utilised' and urged police to reconsider the move.