Cash office under threat

Bayard place 

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Bayard place exterior ENGEMN00120130115161935

The future of Peterborough City Council’s cash office is under threat as the council considers options to increase the number of services residents can pay for online.

Three consultations have been launched after the council’s cabinet agreed to look at more options surrounding online payments.

Along with the future of the cash office - which is based in Bayard Place used by residents to pay for things like council tax - the proposals would see residential parking permits and taxi licences online only.

Although the proposed changes will see residents encouraged to make payments by direct debit or digital methods there remains over 50 locations throughout the city in banks, Payzones and Post Offices that will accept payments for council services by cheque, cash and credit/debit cards.

While the cabinet agreed to go ahead with the consultation, there was concern about how the proposed moves could affect residents living in rural communities.

Councillor Steve Allen, Cabinet Adviser to the Leader, said: “In some rural communities post offices and banks are as rare as snow in August - how do we help those people?”

Vicki Palazon, Head of Finance said: “That is a really good question. People come in the centre to pay. We have to encourage people to pay online. We are also looking at community hubs to help people.”

Mrs Palazon said currently 1,100 people use the cash office every week - about 0.5 per cent of the population - but that number is falling.

Deputy leader of the council cllr Wayne Fitzgerald said the plans would save the authority £100,000 every year.

Leader of the council, cllr John Holdich said: “No decisions have been made and I encourage residents to take part in the consultation so we can hear a wide range of views.”

The consultations started on Tuesday, and the final date for responses in 5pm on September 20, with a further report going to the cabinet five days later.

To have your say, visit www.peterborough.gov.uk, or any council office or library.