A group of Merton councillors believe they have a plan to save Wimbledon police station, but it involves tinkering with the budget.

The closure of the front counter and the subsequent move to Mitcham was announced by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in November last year.

Now the Merton Conservatives believe that amending the council's proposed budget for 2018-22 will allow it to buy back the police station from MOPAC and then lease it back to them.

Councillor David Simpson said this was a "practical" plan.

“We know that residents in Wimbledon are completely opposed to the closure of our local police station," he said.

"This is an affordable and practical plan that would save Wimbledon police station and secure the safety and quality of life of local residents. "Merton’s reserves have gone up by £50million since 2010 under Labour. That’s residents’ money just sitting in the bank.

"By purchasing this important town centre site, the council would gain a regular rental income whilst the Met Police would save 50 per cent of their running costs and avoid having to spend hundreds of thousands on changes to Mitcham police station.

"It’s a win win.”

As it stands, the would be possible because council’s capital programme for 2017-18 is currently underspent by more than £11million whilst the council also has total usable reserves of £91million.

MOPAC would then be charged a yearly rent of around one per cent of the purchase price whilst the council would make a grant covering half of the annual running costs of the police station.

Merton Council Leader, Stephen Alambritis said money could be more effectively used elsewhere.

“After years of Government cuts, it's astonishing Conservative councillors think we can magic up millions of pounds we don't have for such a madcap idea, instead of using every spare penny to help vulnerable people," he said.

"Police budgets have been savaged almost as much as the council's, and if the Tories really valued Wimbledon, they should have ensured their own government gave the mayor the funding he needs to tackle the crime that has risen on their watch.”

While opinions are certainly divided about how best to approach the situation, one Wimbledon resident is taking matters into his own hands.

On January 25, Paul Kohler formally launched a legal challenge to the London mayor’s plans to close 37 police stations across the capital.

Mr Kohler, who was subjected to a vicious attack in his home in 2014, believes he only survived because police officers were able to get to his house from the local station in Wimbledon, one of the 37 police stations under threat of closure.

“The mayor’s plan to remove police stations from the heart of many communities is a short-sighted and unimaginative response to the funding crisis caused by the Government’s equally misguided decision to slash the Metropolitan Police budget,” he said.

The legal challenge is seeking permission to take the decision to close more than half of the current police stations in London to Judicial Review. Lawyers acting on half of Mr Kohler have argued that the public consultation and consequent decision were legally flawed and unlawful.

MP for Wimbledon Stephen Hammond said closing the station would put lives at risk.

"Time and again he (Mr Khan) has refused to listen to the thousands of local residents who have made clear his proposal is totally unacceptable.

“Now he and Merton Labour have the chance to think again.

"I hope that both the council and City Hall will accept our proposal and do the right thing for Wimbledon.”