Social services offices to close

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PENDLE is to lose all Lancashire County Council social services offices which the public can attend, and the teams from them will be moved to Burnley instead.

It is happening by the end of March despite the Labour Party getting 2,000 people to sign a petition to oppose closures in Pendle.

The county council says the plan to shut down some of the county’s offices across East Lancashire will cut running costs and help protect front-line services.

Two offices in Nelson and one in Colne will be closed down and there will be a “temporary relocation of staff” to Chaddesley House, Burnley.

But there will still be a Colne base for staff visiting the area.

The welfare rights office at 19 to 21 Carr Road, Nelson, will close, as will the adult social care base at 7 to 11 Carr Road.

In Colne, the children’s social care unit at 2a Market Place, Colne, will also go.

Many of the staff based across East Lancashire will relocate to The Globe Centre in Accrington as part of a review of the county council’s office accommodation, affecting 23 offices in the area.

County Coun. Geoff Driver, leader of the county council, said: “The council has to save £180 million over the next three years - up to 2014. Changing some of the ways we work will help to make significant savings. This includes making better use of our buildings. This will ultimately help us protect jobs and front-line services.”

Arrangements for people who need to visit county offices, or contact a member of staff, will be made available and publicised in due course.

In addition to the main office base at the Globe Centre, four smaller county council offices will be kept across East Lancashire for staff to use as drop-in points when working in the area.

These will be situated at 2a Market Place in Colne, Chaddesley House in Burnley, Oakenhead in Rawtenstall and Pimlico Road in Clitheroe. These offices will not provide facilities directly for the public, however.

The county council hopes to complete the office moves in East Lancashire by next April. Any buildings owned by the council and no longer required for providing council services will be sold off or disposed of in other ways. The Globe will become the main office base for East Lancashire following these changes.

Pendle Council’s Labour Group leader, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, pointed out that they set up a petition last year against social services closures, and 2,000 people in Pendle signed it.