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Council hubs in Stourport and Bewdley to close
COUNCIL hub offices in Stourport and Bewdley will close meaning residents will be unable to enquire about council services face-to-face with staff in their own towns.
Wyre Forest District Council has confirmed the Worcestershire hubs in Stourport's High Street and Bewdley's Load Street will shut on Friday, August 29.
Council chiefs claim the move is as a result of a "significant decline" in usage, with the dwindling numbers meaning each individual visit costs the council £20.
It means residents of the two towns who need help with council services will need to find an alternative way to speak to customer service advisers. They will be able to use the hub office at Kidderminster Town Hall, go online to the council's website or contact the authority by telephone.
Conservative councillors 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 requires all blue badges, bus passes and waste permits to be applied for online on its 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 more than 120 customers a month has 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 online or by telephone and Kidderminster Town Hall is only a relatively short bus or car journey away for any residents who wishes to speak to a customer service adviser face-to-face."