CHATTERIS: Community hub proposal

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Plans have been announced to create a new “all-in-one” community hub at Chatteris library to make it easier for people to access a wide range of public services.

The aim is to bring together the existing county council services provided at the town’s library and those currently available at Fenland District Council’s Fenland @ your service shop.

The proposals for a new Chatteris Community Hub will be considered by FDC’s Cabinet next

Thursday (March 21).

They would mean that Fenland District Council’s services would be available five days a week instead of the current four, with staff being on hand for an extra three hours a week.

Councillor Alan Melton, FDC’s Leader, said: “This is an exciting and ground-breaking scheme - the first of its kind in the county. At the moment people seeking to access district and county council services have to go to two separate places on different days at different times.

“By merging our existing one-stop shop and the library we are planning to deliver an integrated service in one convenient, town-centre location.

“All the services currently provided at our one-stop shop will still be provided and will be available for more hours each week. The hub will continue to offer excellent face-to-face help with a huge range of customer enquiries as well as providing facilities enabling residents to pay for Fenland services such as Council Tax. Roddons tenants will also still be able to make rent payments there.”

“In future, we hope to bring other partners on board, and we are talking to them about this.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Mac McGuire, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said: “It makes absolute sense to put public services together to meet the needs of the communities we serve and reduce costs to the taxpayer.

“This move is part of a drive by Cambridgeshire public services to share premises in a common sense way that makes it easier for people to access services they need rather than having to travel about a town from organisation to organisation.”

The plan for the new hub is in line with wider joint efforts in Cambridgeshire under the Making

Assets Count partnership to make the most efficient use of all public sector resources – something that is seen as essential when money is so tight.

It is hoped that the Chatteris hub will open in the summer. Full details of the scheme are yet to be finalised but the current proposals are for the hub to be open 27 hours each week, with the library’s current opening hours. Both councils’ services would be available during these times.

Extended opening hours could be offered at a later stage.