Wellingborough Council has launched a ‘one stop shop’ in the town centre, meaning that customers can now access a wide range of services all in one place.
As well as offering a number of council services - such as benefits, housing, planning advice, environmental health, customer services and much more - the one stop shop also gives people the chance to get debt advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), and speak to experts from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about tax credits, child benefit, and self assessment.
The one stop shop, which operates out of the council's Tithe Barn Road offices, was officially opened by the Mayor, Cllr Lora Lawman, on Friday 18 March. The new facility features several desks with computers and telephones. Customers can access the planning portal and council website, and a list of phone numbers is available on each desk for people to contact relevant officers, who will come and meet them in person if necessary. Booths are available for private conversations.
Opening the one stop shop, the Mayor said: "I am delighted to be opening this facility, which demonstrates how joint working with different organisations can help us to deliver efficient and responsive services to all residents in the borough. Thanks must go to all the staff involved in bringing this project to fruition and I really hope that residents find the one stop shop considerably more convenient than having to visit four or more different places to get the advice and service they need."
One of the first customers of the one stop shop was Cliff Gray, 50, from Wellingborough, who had some ideas about the renovation of his local area. Cliff said: "There are some derelict walls near where I live which have preservation orders on them. I wanted to speak to someone about ways to rebuild them and by using the one stop shop I was able to speak to the conservation officer, who came straight over to talk to me. It's certainly a better way of doing things, and it's a good idea to have everything in one place. It's maybe something the council could think about extending to the villages as well, possibly with a mobile service to take people through filling in forms and listening to their opinions."
HMRC and CAB are only available at certain times. To find out more, or to make an appointment, people should contact customer services on 01933 229 777.