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Hadleigh won’t get staffed access point for Babergh District Council – but work continues on self-service site

PUBLISHED: 06:14 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 06:20 15 April 2018

The former Babergh District Council offices at Corks Lane, Hadleigh. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The former Babergh District Council offices at Corks Lane, Hadleigh. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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Babergh District Council will not be setting up a staffed access point in Hadleigh for residents, but will instead pursue a self-service style facility partnering with an existing organisation.

Sudbury Town Hall, where Babergh has set up an access pointl. Picture: GREGG BROWNSudbury Town Hall, where Babergh has set up an access pointl. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A motion was put to Babergh District Council’s cabinet on Thursday by Sudbury south councillor Luke Cresswell, proposing to set up a customer access point to support Hadleigh residents in a similar way to its Sudbury and Stowmarket services.

Mr Cresswell proposed that it would have similar services, including support, advice and facilities to scan information.

However, the cabinet has said it will not pursue a standalone staffed access point like Sudbury and Stowmarket, but will look at opportunities to set up an un-manned point in partnership with an existing organisation where items can be scanned and online access can be obtained.

Babergh council leader John Ward said the plan was in the early stages.

Babergh councillors now meet at Endeavour House in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATERBabergh councillors now meet at Endeavour House in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

“We are definitely not going to provide a full access point like we have in Stowmarket or Sudbury – there is no evidence something like that is justified, but we are pursuing other possible locations to have more of a self service access point,” he said.

“We are not yet sure where that will be but we are talking to two or three partners.”

Mr Ward confirmed it would not be staffed by anyone from Babergh, but staff at whatever organisation the council agrees to site its service within will be given training to offer “low level” guidance.

A report prepared ahead of the cabinet meeting revealed that the Sudbury point costs around £74,000 per year to run, which is understood to be considered too costly for a point in Hadleigh.

Set up costs for a self service point like that proposed in Hadleigh would cost only £5,000, according to the report.

However, Mr Ward said the self service points would provide better access for people across the district, and didn’t rule out further points elsewhere.

“[Hadleigh] is effectively our second town in Babergh,” he said.

“Sudbury is the primary location by its population but for Hadleigh if this turns out to be effective it may be rolled out to other locations as well.

“It will provide better face-to-face access to services – it will be more accessible points than when you just had one [office].”

Babergh’s main council office was previously based in Hadleigh before the council opted to move with Mid Suffolk District Council to Endeavour House in Ipswich.

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