Councillors agree to keep community office in Colburn Library

The library at the Broadway in Colburn.

A long-running review to find a more suitable site for a district council’s busiest community office has concluded the council services centre should remain where it is.

A meeting of Richmondshire District Council’s corporate board heard despite concerns over the office at Colburn Library, Broadway, due to a lack of space upgrading it would be the most cost effective solution.

The office is one of five community offices run by the district council, but is the busiest with more than 4,000 people using it annually.

Councillors approved using £35,000 from the authority’s coffers to improve the facility more than a year after examining alternative premises in Broadway and a sheltered housing building at nearby Oak Tree Court.

The community office had been said to have outgrown its base in the library as space was needed to provide support to customers with queries in private.

After becoming a community-run library as North Yorkshire County Council sought to cut costs, it was reorganised, leaving the community officer beside the children’s play area.

However, the review found converting Oak Tree Court into the centre would cost £51,000 and creating the office elsewhere on Broadway as much as £100,000.

The corporate board meeting heard among the key concerns about the library had been the “cramped working conditions” and health and safety for council staff.

Officers said the proposed changes to the building should alleviate those concerns and detailed plans of the upgrade would be shared the customer services staff to ensure they helped shape the changes, which would include installing a self-payment kiosk.

Former leader of the council Councillor Yvonne Peacock told the meeting it was essential customers were able to conduct their business privately.

Councillor Angie Dale, the authority’s leader, said she was pleased to see that not only was it possible to keep the office at the library, but it was also the cheapest solution.