CIVIC leaders in Didcot are delighted police have scrapped plans to replace the town’s station with a new one on its outskirts.

The force was considering building a new police station to cater for the fast-growing population but now says it is too cash-strapped and will instead increase capacity at its current base in Mereland Road when more facilities are needed.

Town council leader Margaret Davies said: “This is good news for Didcot and good news for the town centre.

“I’m sure most people will welcome the decision of the force to retain the town centre station.

“Police community support officers do an excellent job of staging meetings with the public at different community venues. But their starting point is the town’s police station and I think it’s reassuring for residents to know it is there.”

In a report commissioned by South Oxfordshire District Council last year, consultants Aecom told council leaders that a larger police station should be built on the town’s north ring road.

But property service managers for the force say this is no longer likely as there are insufficient funds to build the new station.

The force has not yet given an estimate for how much the new police station would have cost.

Thames Valley Police spokesman Rhianne Pope said: “The force intends to retain Didcot police station for the foreseeable future.

“Thames Valley Police has undertaken a review of the estate and future requirements, and there are insufficient funds, and value in the current police station site, to fully fund a replacement.

“The presumption now is for adapting and increasing capacity at the current station when required.

“If the police station was replaced, it would be replaced with an appropriate facility of sufficient size to maintain standards in Didcot.”

Last year the force cut Didcot’s opening hours by a third as part of a cost-cutting measure.