TAUNTON police station could be closed as early as next year, it has emerged.

Avon and Somerset Police is looking at closing the facility along with other “medium-sized” stations as part of cost-cutting measures.

The Shuttern base is earmarked for closure in 2015-16 when custody moves to a new state-of-the-art centre in Bridgwater.

A new enquiries office for the public will then open elsewhere, possibly in a shared facility at County Hall, but talks are at an early stage, the force said today (April 28).

But despite the station's closure, Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said saving cash on buildings will allow the force to keep more frontline officers.

She said: “I do not want residents to feel that the police are withdrawing from their area or street. Our plans are about reducing the amount of oversized and under-utilised buildings we own and providing the best possible access for our communities.

“In the traditional sense police stations as you know them now, will change.

“Soon you are much more likely to see your police team located with other 'blue light' services such as fire and ambulance or with the council.

“This means police will be where you need them most, in the heart of your community.”

The force is looking at reducing its portfolio of buildings by more than a third in the next five years.

Where medium-sized police buildings are no longer needed, they will be sold with a view to sharing facilities with other authorities.

The former station in Bridgwater has been earmarked for retirement homes by developer McCarthy & Stone.

Director of finance at Avon and Somerset Police, Julian Kern, said: “The opening of the new police centres has presented us with a valuable opportunity to look at our police estate.

“We have identified where we are and where we should be to best serve our communities and support our operational officers.”

As reported in January, around 130 officers are to be axed as the force looks to save £8million in 2014/15.

The force reiterated it had no immediate plans to close Taunton station as a whole until today's announcement.