SOUTHEND police station could undergo a £6million refurbishment if it is given planning permission.

The Victoria Avenue building would have an extra eight cells under the plans, as well as dedicated facilities for drugs inspection, wash rooms, interview suites and more booking-in desks.

The station currently has 22 cells, but would have 30 under the plan.

Essex Police say that the current provision of custody there is no longer fit for purpose as it is more than 50 years old.

Assistant chief constable, Julia Wortley, said: "This level of investment in Southend police station clearly demonstrates our commitment to keep a local policing base in the town and our desire to ensure our facilities are fit for operational use for the next 50 years.

"Our plan to refurbish the custody suite at Southend follows other improvements at Grays, Basildon and Chelmsford in recent years, which have provided some excellent facilities.

"The planning application also includes some changes to the façade of the building which we hope will transform the dated 1950s exterior of the police station in to a landmark building for Southend.”

Police and crime commissioner for Essex, Nick Alston said: "I’m pleased that this plan has been put forward and hope that it goes ahead. We will make better use of some of our existing estate and in this instance the work will have a positive effect on Southend policing and its community.”

If planning consent is granted the work is scheduled to be completed by May 2016.