IMPROVEMENTS costing £200,000 have been spent making the council’s Forum offices more customer-friendly.
Cheshire West and Chester Council says changes were urgently needed despite the building being ear-marked for demolition if and when the credit-crunched Northgate Development shopping centre gets the go ahead.
Customer services, licensing and taxi licensing now have designated areas within the new reception. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs staff a desk there two days a week.
Council spokeswoman Laura Johnson said: “The works have taken place in-line with those happening across the borough to improve access to our services for customers.
“With today’s technology we need to recognise that people want to make contact with us in many different ways and we have worked to make ourselves more accessible through the telephone, internet and face-to-face.
“The space was completely unacceptable and not good enough for our customers – it was dark, unfriendly, with a tiny entrance, nowhere to sit and nowhere private to discuss personal situations/issues.
“The project has brought together all of the new ways people want to make contact with the council. We have implemented self-service with online access, installed new phones that link directly to the contact centre and certain offices and there are now private meeting rooms for one-to-one discussions.”
Miss Johnson said neither the Northgate Development scheme nor the potential new council offices in Delamere Street ‘would be completed within a short period of time’ and these frontline services were needed immediately.