12:50pm Thursday 16th January 2014
POLICE and council services will now be dealt with in one building in Chipping Norton.
From Monday (20), West Oxfordshire District Council's Guildhall reception will double up as a one-stop shop for police and council services.
As previously reported in The Journal, Thames Valley Police announced plans last August to sell the town’s Victorian station in London Road and move to a more efficient building.
The move is part of a ‘force asset management programme’ and police stations in Charlbury and Woodstock are also being sold and relocated.
Councillor Mark Booty, cabinet member at West Oxfordshire District Council responsible for community safety, said: "We were very keen to help the police maintain valuable front counter service in Chipping Norton and are pleased to provide this service for them from the Guildhall.
"For residents, the Guildhall has the added benefit of being a town centre location. It also has longer opening hours and is easily accessible with everything on the ground floor.”
The police force, which currently pays £70,000 a year to maintain the town station, has promised the availability and visibility of police officers to attend incidents will be not be affected by the changes.
Superintendent Colin Paine, Commander for West Oxfordshire and Cherwell, said: “The opening of this new front counter will give the residents of Chipping Norton access to police counter services for an extra 15 hours per week and allow them to visit more easily as it is in a town centre location. Visitors can also access council services at the same time, all at no extra cost to tax payers."
Council services will continue to operate as normal from the Guildhall while the additional police counter services provided by WODC will include producing driving documents, reporting lost and found property as well as general advice when needed.
The new opening hours will be 8.45am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, but will close at 4pm on Friday.
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