REACTION to news of plans to close police stations in Chard, Ilminster and Crewkerne has been pouring into the News this week.

Avon and Somerset Police said the stations will close over the next four years and re-locate or merge with other emergency services.

Plenty of people have expressed their concerns about the move, including residents and community leaders.

On the News website, DebCha wrote: “Having the Chard police station in the centre of town would be a good idea as there are plenty of empty shops it could go into. Downsizing is not such a good idea.”

Orchardman added: “Has anyone pointed out to Ms Mountstevens that with the imminent developments – together with the accompanying increase in population of Ilminster, Crewkerne and Chard – if the plan is to close police stations in those towns some thought could and should be given to the provision of a purpose-built 24-hour facility with custody suites to replace those units being closed, not offices in town halls or converted shops.”

This week, a spokesman for the police told the News that locations for the new bases were not confirmed yet.

The spokesman added: “We are not sure at the moment, we are in discussions with people as to where they might be.”

Chard Police Station underwent a £400,000 revamp in 2009 to add a custody suite and stop officers having to transport suspects to Yeovil. Under the plans, this building would be closed.

MP David Laws also expressed his concerns. He said: “Our number one aim must be to ensure that we continue to have a strong and effective police presence across the area.

“I will be asking Avon and Somerset Police to provide more information detailing the realities of their proposals and I will also be meeting with Sue Mounstevens, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and Nick Gargan, the Chief Constable to go through the plans very closely.”

Sergeant Rob Jameson, who covers Chard, Ilminster and Crewkerne, said despite the restructure there would be more police officers.

He added: “There will be a change in the size and location of police stations but not in their number locally.

“This is because the force needs to reduce its overall estate and so it has been given an ideal opportunity to take advantage of sharing office space with our partners, which will inevitably result in working more closely with them.

“The overall objective is to ensure the public across Somerset remains safe and feels safe and that is what local officers on both the response and neighbourhood teams want to achieve as well.”