Wyre Forest District Council has confirmed that the Worcestershire hub offices at Stourport-on-Severn library and in Load Street, Bewdley will close on Friday 29 August as a result of a significant decline in usage.
Face-to-face customer contact will continue to be available at the Town Hall in Kidderminster, in addition to other ways of accessing services by means of the website by telephone. The Council continues to increase the amount of self-service options on its website in order to provide greater flexibility to customers, who can access services at a time convenient for them, 24 hours a day.
Councillor Nathan Desmond, Cabinet Member for Resources and Transformation, said “We have reviewed the levels of usage at both locations, which have been falling for the last two years. More recently, we have changed how we receive cash payments and Worcestershire County Council now require all blue badges, bus passes and waste permits to be applied for online through the County Counci's website.
“There has been a dramatic fall in the number of people using the two locations, and the case for change is simply too compelling. Since January, Stourport has dealt with an average of fewer than 70 customers a month while an average of just over 120 customers a month used the Bewdley office in May and June. The cost of running the two sites is about £50,000 a year meaning that each of these customer visits now costs the council about £20.
“We cannot justify keeping the two locations open when the Council needs to save very significant sums of money as a result of Government grant reductions. Indeed, this change will allow us to continue to protect front-line services that local residents value most. There are about 50 locations across Wyre Forest where residents can make payments to the Council using Post Offices and shops that offer PayPoint, which has made paying the Council much more convenient and accessible to residents. There is a range of other ways of accessing services on line or by telephone, and Kidderminster Town Hall is only a relatively short bus or car journey away for any resident who wishes to speak to a customer service adviser face-to-face.”