A FORMER police station could be turned into a tuition centre for children.

The building in Ipswich Road, Colchester, has been empty since owners Essex Police closed it to the public in 2012 to save cash.

After being on the market since 2016, it was bought by Jacqui Robinson, who wants to expand her tuition business into the premises.

Former grammar school teacher Mrs Robinson has now submitted a planning application to Colchester Council, hoping the business's new venue can officially open there in January.

The building will become the new headquarters for the expanding Jacqui Robinson Education Centre and eventually take on six more part-time teachers.

The business started in Colchester nearly 20 years ago and runs lessons for five to 16 year-olds from St John's Community Centre in Ipswich Road and at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Its head office is in Elmstead Market which will relocate to the former police building.

Lessons will continue to run from the St John's centre and the stadium but extra lessons held at the new venue midweek and some weekends.

Mrs Robinson said: "I am really excited, I think we can give a much better service from it."

She added: "It is exactly where we need it because it is five minutes from where we already teach on the same road at St John's and we are well used by the local community."

Mrs Robinson said its location, a bus stop outside, parking spaces and size of the building all made it an ideal venue.

The business will also expand to offer online teaching.

A total of 15 teaching staff already work there.

It teaches more than 300 students a week.

The centre will provide private English and maths lessons for students attending for one or two hours per week, in addition to regular schooling.

It is aimed at those who want to prepare for specific exams, such as the 11-Plus and private school entrance exams.

The building's rooms will be adapted to include a reception area, teaching facilities, a staff room, a photocopying room, storage, an office, bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Mrs Robinson said there would be no structural changes to the building but it will be repainted and spruced up.

The centre's teaching hours could be from 4pm to 8pm weekdays and 8am to 5pm Saturdays.

Colchester Council aims to decide on the plans by November 28.

Prior to its closure, the police station served about 13,000 people on the St Johns and Highwoods estates.

n The Jacqui Robinson Education Centre will host a talk on the 11-Plus at the St John's Community Centre, Ipswich Road, Colchester, on November 15 at 7.30pm. Call 01206 827495 to book.