Stamford Arts Centre to receive £100k boost as South Kesteven District Council seeks to accommodate new customer access kiosks
Stamford Arts Centre is to benefit from a £100k ‘improvement scheme’ as the district council looks to base a new digital customer access point in the building.
Details of the plan were revealed at a meeting of South Kesteven District Council’s cabinet on Tuesday (September 8).
The scheme - which has yet to be approved by the full council - would include a reconfigured coffee shop, box office and tourist information point, as well as new computer kiosks for council customers.
It comes as SKDC looks to reduce face-to-face dealings with residents and close the current area office on Maiden Lane.
There are similar plans to install new kiosks in the Deepings Community Library on High Street, Market Deeping, moving the service over the road from the existing area office in the community centre.
Authority chiefs argue that the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically reduced the need for face-to-face interaction.
And the move towards digital communication with customers - via phone, email, social media and apps - could save the council £116,000 a year.
Cabinet member for communities, Coun Annie Mason (Con, Grantham St Vincent's), said: “Our residents have successfully switched to methods other than face-to-face contact during the pandemic.
“Customers now expect a modern council and moving forward, as part of this raft of improvements, we will actively support the vulnerable and those who need assistance to get the help they require.”
She added: “These refinements provide choice and deliver convenience to all residents, businesses and visitors by maximising the use of all the channels available. Self-serve transactions are available 24/7 through our website, which improves accessibility and makes it easy to do business with SKDC at a time that best suits the user.”
Documents made publicly available before the cabinet meeting state that two rounds of consultation have taken place in Stamford and Market Deeping to gauge public opinion on the proposals.
In Stamford a total of 507 people responded whereas in Market Deeping the figure was 175.
There was some concern around elderly and vulnerable people being able to access services.
But Coun Mason assured cabinet members during Tuesday’s meeting that arrangements would always be made for anyone to have a face-to-face meeting if they required one.
Commenting on the Stamford plan, Coun Rosemary Trollope-Bellew (Con, Casewick) said: “This is an excellent piece of work that possibly should have been done a number of years ago. The Arts Centre will be the best of all worlds.”
Council documents suggest the move will save £83,000 a year in Stamford and £33,000 a year in Market Deeping. It could ensure savings of £55,000 this year.
Residents who need to see SKDC staff face-to-face in Grantham and Bourne can still do so by pre-booking essential appointments.
Stamford Arts Centre, located on St Mary's Street, is run by SKDC's cultural services team.