Criticism over plans to close Mansfield District Council payment office

Mansfield Civic Centre.
Mansfield Civic Centre.

Pressure is growing to keep a cash payment office open at Mansfield District Council that has been earmarked for closure.

It was estimated that axing the payment counter at the Civic Centre could help save more than £106,000.

The counter is used by local residents who prefer not to set up direct debits to pay council tax and other outstanding 

But the potential closure was heavily criticised by councillors during the recent full monthly council meeting.

A motion was put forward by Labour councillor Sonia Ward during the meeting to save the service.

She said that 50 per cent of payments made to the council are made via the cash desk, adding: “The idea of shutting that pay point is ridiculous, this is not about money, it’s about providing a service.”

Coun Andy Wetton said it would be ‘crazy’ to close the counter, adding: “I can see no reason to close the doors on the public and say to them they can’t come in to pay what they owe.”

Twenty-eight of the councillors present voted to keep the payment office open, compared to five against.

Coun Kate Allsop defended the plans to close the payment office open, saying it could help boost trade at local shops and Post Offices if the payments could be made there.

She said: “I understand that people don’t want change, but there are over 70 pay points in the district and are close to where people live.

Earlier in the discussion, Coun Nick Bennett had suggested that the council should be utilising the town hall on Market Square to provide a pay point.

A decision on whether the payment point will be axed is expected in the coming weeks.