Council One Stop Shops to relocate saving taxpayers £130,000 a year
- Credit: Archant
Around £130,000 a year will be saved by taxpayers when the One Stop Shops in March and Wisbech relocate this year.
The shop in Broad Street, March, will relocate to the council offices at Fenland Hall in County Road and the shop in Bridge Street, Wisbech, will relocate to The Boathouse Business Centre.
It comes as the shops leases expire this year, as figures revealed that people using them had dropped by 81 per cent since they opened 15 years ago.
They will be known as Customer Services Centres and have the same opening hours.
The lease on the March shop expires in July, but the shop will close its doors and relocate next month to allow works required to return the Broad Street building to its original condition, as per conditions of the lease, to be carried out.
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The lease on the Wisbech shop expires in September and it is expected to relocate by late July/mid-August.
Councillor Anne Hay, the council’s portfolio holder for finance, said: “We are committed to providing excellent customer services across Fenland, regardless of the ongoing budget savings we have to make.
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“It is likely the number of visits to our one stop shops will continue to decline as more people make use of our online services, so by relocating the shops to council-owned properties we can make significant savings while still offering face-to-face services to those that want it.”
The shops will continue to provide local residents with the same advice and information on a range of services, including Council Tax, benefits, waste collections, housing advice and planning enquires.
Potential savings from the shops’ relocation were identified during the council’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) in 2015, which looked at ways the council could continue to deliver a balanced budget despite reductions in government funding and increased demand for council services.
The decision to relocate them was approved at a cabinet meeting on February 21.
A report to members said the number of residents visiting the shops in Broad Street, March, and Bridge Street, Wisbech, had fallen dramatically from 190,866 a year in 2005/2006 to 59,251 in 2017/2018 and 36,893 in 2018/19.
Figures show the number of hits on the council’s website had soared by 542 per cent in that time, from 90,726 hits a year to 582,788.
The average web transaction costing the council 6p to provide compared to £8.78 per face-to-face transaction at the shops.
The last day at the one stop shop will be Friday March 8, with the new Customer Service Centre opening at Fenland Hall on Wednesday March 13.
In addition to using Customer Services Centres, residents can also access services and contact us in a number of other ways.
These include phoning us on 01354 654321, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, accessing services online at www.fenland.gov.uk and visiting our Community Hubs in Chatteris and Whittlesey.
The new March Customer Services Centre will be open 9am to 4pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 9am to 12pm on Saturdays (closed Thursday and Sunday).