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Chatham Contact Point opens for business

Date: 15/04/2008           Category: Customer First

The boxes have been unpacked, and staff and customers are now enjoying the vibrant new surroundings at Chatham Contact Point. More than 350 people a day are using the new customer access point in Dock Road, which opened for business on 1 April at the former parking services building. Residents can get help and advice and information on a wide range of council services, including housing, council tax and benefits, from one of the centre’s 13 service desks. Customers can also pay their council tax bills by cash using an automated till in the new, brighter and friendlier reception area. The easy-to-access centre is next to Chatham Library, and is close to the bus station and town centre car parks. It is open Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5.15pm, and Fridays, 8.30am to 4.45pm. There are also plans to open Saturday mornings from June. The new Contact Point follows the closure of the Chatham Local Office in Military Road, and the reception areas and offices at the Municipal Buildings in Gillingham and the Civic Centre in Strood. This week, Medway Council’s Leader Cllr Rodney Chambers found out for himself about the services that are on offer when he joined Deputy Leader Cllr Alan Jarrett; Customer First Portfolio Holder Cllr Janice Bamber and Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, for a tour of the premises. Cllr Chambers said: “The new Chatham Contact Point offers residents access to a range of public services, including housing and benefits advice, in a friendly and brighter environment. I am confident this will provide residents with a better service in a central location.” Portfolio Holder for Customer First Cllr Janice Bamber was delighted with the new Chatham Contact Point. She said: “ I am delighted we are opening Chatham Contact Point, the latest in our programme of facilities, maintaining a physical presence in all of our five main town centres. “Our award-winning Customer First service goes from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming our customers to this our newest Contact Point’. Portfolio Holder for Community Services Cllr Howard Doe added: “The new Contact Point enables staff to offer advice about complex and often sensitive housing issues in a more modern environment than previously available at the Municipal Buildings.” As well as the main Chatham Contact Point there are contact points in Station Road, Rainham, Gillingham Library and the visitor information centre in Rochester. Public access to planning services is moving in April from the Compass Centre in Chatham Maritime to a planning reception area in the new Gun Wharf building. More information is available on 01634 331700. The Civic Centre reception in Strood will also be closing permanently, although this is not expected to be until Friday, 23 May. A new contact point to replace the existing facilities in the Civic Centre in Strood will be opening in the annex (the Clock Tower building) and will also be the place to go for all parking services enquiries from Tuesday, 27 May. Customers can pay many council bills easily and safely - and without any risk of missing a payment - by direct debit or standing order. Visit www.medway.gov.uk/onlinepayments or by phoning 01634 334477 or 01634 333128 from Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm. Cash can still be used to pay a wide range of council bills, including council tax, business rates and rent, at post offices and banks. Credit and debit cards can also be used at the council’s contact points in Chatham and Strood, and the new Chatham facility at Riverside One in Dock Road will accept cash payments. Cheques and postal orders should be sent to the new address - Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, ME4 4TU. Another easy way to pay council rent safely and securely by cash is to use an Allpay card at any of the 40,000 conveniently-situated outlets nationwide. More than 50 outlets take Allpay in Gillingham, including one close to the former Municipal Buildings - just look out for a PayPoint or Pay Zone sign. To find out more about Allpay phone 01634 333500.