Mansfield District Council axes housing offices

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TWO council offices which help tenants complete forms and offer advice about housing matters are to shut this year.

Mansfield District Council’s area housing offices at Mansfield Woodhouse and Sandy Lane, Mansfield, will close later this year and be replaced with an open surgery service and increased one to one home visits.

They offer support with completing Council Tax and Housing Benefit forms, and provide advice on and deal with general housing matters.

A recent review of the service showed a decline in the number of visitors to each of the offices.

In August 2009 the average number of visitors for housing related matters was 136 per week for the Mansfield Woodhouse office and 213 per week for the South Area Housing Office.

In November 2011 these figures had fallen to 70 visitors per week for Mansfield Woodhouse and 85 per week for the South Area office.

The Mansfield Woodhouse area housing office will close on 8th June and the South Area Housing Office will close on 31st August.

A weekly surgery will take place on Wednesdays at Mansfield Woodhouse, from the Vale Road depot, between 9am-12noon.

Another surgery will be set up for the Mansfield South Area nearer to its closure.

Coun Mick Colley, portfolio holder for tenancy services and housing needs, said: “The way people access council services is changing and people tend to prefer contacting us either by phone or using our online services. It is clear from the visitor figures that maintaining the area housing offices in this manner is not efficient or cost effective.”

Tenants can also contact 01623 463 463, email or visit the Civic Centre (Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm, and Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm).

The decision to close the area housing offices means the Council will see annual savings of approximately £17,500 (Mansfield Woodhouse) and £44,000 (Sandy Lane).