The police station in Epping could close as part of an ongoing programme of cuts with a decision expected in September.

Yesterday (August 11) Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston failed to deny that Epping station was one of 50 buildings facing closure, just hours before a report on the issue was considered by Epping Town Council.

The report from the Epping Town Neighbourhood Action Panel (NAP) called on the council to fight to keep the “essential” station open, amid fears that closure would affect the police’s ability to combat “increasing lawlessness” efficiently and effectively.

At the meeting councillors decided to oppose the closure “in the strongest terms” to reassure residents, deter criminals and minimise police response times.

Earlier, PCC Alston said: “No final decisions have yet been made around individual police stations.

“I anticipate that a major announcement will be made on September 14 2015, and this will mark the start of a programme of extensive engagement with the people of Essex and key stakeholders throughout the autumn.”

The programme will see Essex Police’s property portfolio cut dramatically from 80 buildings to “around 30”, with the potential for police having to move into shared properties with Essex County Council, the fire and rescue service or community groups.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor and mayor Michael Wright claimed that closing the High Street station would remove a prominent deterrent to criminals travelling from London.

He said: “Having the [police] cars parked on the street and down the side, I think purely in itself deters some criminals.

“I think it would be like opening the door… it will increase the number of Central line incomers.”

He added: “As a council, we should talk to whoever can listen, and say we are very against it.”

Councillor Nigel Avey said the station was important to reassure the town’s elderly people, and said any opportunity to maintain police presence should be used.

He said: “During the day time, older residents are feeling quite threatened… I think we should support any plans to increase police presence, it is most definitely needed.”

Councillor Jon Whitehouse claimed station closure could hit police response times, and he called on the council to contact the PCC and fully support the NAP’s report.

He said: “The fact is we have lost some police stations in the area already, because Waltham Abbey closed a while back.

“But the point to make which is the most relevant is, if police are based near where you are, they will get to you quicker.”