Eye: Anger over plan to close customer service centre

THE mayor of Eye has expressed his anger at plans to close an “essential” customer service centre in the town.

Bruce Bennett said the proposed closure of the Customer Services Direct office in Cross Street, run by Mid Suffolk District Council, would leave residents unable to access many services.

Customer Direct enables residents to report problems, make payments and request services related to tax, housing and transport.

Mr Bennett said the plan was “unfair” as Eye residents paid the same council tax as those living in areas of the district that would continue to be served by branches in Stowmarket and Needham Market.

In a letter to district council chief executive Andrew Good, Mr Bennett said Eye Town Council had “serious concerns” about the move to close the office, which is located in a building owned by Suffolk County Council that is set to be sold in the new year.

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Mr Bennett said: “As you know, Eye is located somewhat remotely on the outer borders of mid Suffolk district and is, therefore, a considerable distance from its administrative centre.

“It has to cope with limited bus services and this geographic isolation is likely to be compounded once Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils merge.

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“The result of this location is that it is essential that services be available in the town itself in order to ensure that local residents have access to a full range of services.

“While we recognise that ‘footfall’ has not been as high in Eye as in other areas, it is nonetheless an essential service and one that Eye cannot do without.”

Nick Gowrley, corporate director at Mid Suffolk, said members would be debating a paper on Monday about the future of the centre.

He said: “We recognise that this situation would not be ideal for everyone and that is why we are working closely with the county council to look at alternative ways in which residents can access both district and county council services.”

A county council spokesman said that due to “changes in delivery methods and consolidation of teams”, the building was “surplus to requirements” and would be sold in the new year.

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