Contact centre U-turn means leisure services to be moved

Tourist information is set to move from the town hall to Aquila House, just six months after the launch of the new all-in-one contact centre.

The move, which comes at a cost of just under £15,000, is a result of feedback from members of the public and councillors, that operating the revenues and benefits service and the information centre from the same location, is not working.

Particularly in recent weeks, the contact centre has been hugely busy, which has meant that customers visiting and calling have in some cases had a long wait to have their query dealt with.

It was in October 2012 that the £200,000 project to move the revenues and benefits service from Aquila House to the town hall, creating a one-stop contact centre, was completed.

Leader of Hastings Borough Council Jeremy Birch said: “The council is taking steps to manage busy times better, but we are also going to spend a small amount of money to create a dedicated Tourist Information Centre at Aquila House.

“No-one will miss it as it’s by the roundabout which is soon to be the site of a major public art feature - a central piece of our city of culture.

“By the school holidays, visitor information, accommodation booking, tickets for events etc will be available here.

“All other enquiries will continue to be dealt with at the Town Hall.”

He added that the recent queues experienced were a result of benefit changes, which came into effect on April 1.

The council’s head of communications Kevin Boorman said that the original project to create the contact centre had come in slightly under budget, so the council would use existing resources for the move.

He said the new arrangement would offer ‘the best of both worlds’ in terms of providing information and services to the public.