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South Kesteven District Council starts consultation on plans to close its council offices in Maiden Lane, Stamford, and the Deepings Community Centre

Face-to-face enquiries could be scrapped under plans to close the South Kesteven District Council offices in Stamford and Market Deeping.

The proposal would see the manned offices replaced with self-service payment kiosks.

It is part of a move to modernise customer services but would also save £113,000 each year.

Cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, Robert Reid (Con), said: “By looking at what customers want and modernising our service we can meet changing demands, improve our service and make better use of taxpayers’

The Stamford office in Maiden Lane currently opens for 38 hours a week and makes an average of 705 transactions per

The Market Deeping desk, based within the community centre, is manned for 22.5 hours per week and makes an average of 187 transactions per month.

Councillors for the two towns fear the changes will isolate older members of the community.

Stamford district councillor Harrish Bisnauthsing (Lib Dem/Ind) said: “They want us to go on computers but older people don’t want to do that. They like to have face-to-face interactions and the chance to talk to people.”

Market Deeping councillor Virginia Moran (Ind) added: “We have a fair proportion of elderly people who aren’t tech savvy and their needs get forgotten so often.

“In 20 years the internet will have been around long enough for everyone to understand it, but we’re not there yet.”

The self-service kiosks would be stationed at Stamford Arts Centre and the Deepings Community Centre.

Face-to-face enquiries will be available in Bourne at the SK Community Access Point at Bourne Corn Exchange and at St Peter’s Hill in Grantham and the council will continue to offer appointments for its most vulnerable customers.

The average cost of a face-to-face transaction is £8.62 compared to £2.83 for a telephone call or 15p for a website visit.

A four-week public consultation on the plans started on Thursday, January 23. If approved the plans would be implement sometime between April and June.

There are 2.3 full-time equivalent posts employed across Stamford and Market Deeping but no jobs are at risk.

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