Councillor’s fears for ‘public face of AVDC’

The AVDC area office is in the Buckingham Centre
The AVDC area office is in the Buckingham Centre

Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) is carrying out a review of its front office presence in Buckingham and Winslow, and Buckingham district councillor Robin Stuchbury is concerned the service could be withdrawn.

Currently, AVDC has a presence at the front desk of the Buckingham Centre, on Verney Close, on Tuesdays, Thursdayd and Fridays and on Wednesday mornings.

In Winslow, the area office is open on Mondays only in Winslow Community Library.

Mr Stuchbury asked about the future of the area offices at AVDC’s full council meeting on October 16.

The cabinet member for community matters said no decisions had been made in relation to customer service provision via the area offices.

But he said the nature of communication with the council had been changing for some time, with customers now making much greater use of web-based facilities and other remote methods of making payments, etc, so it was essential for AVDC to constantly review the way it engages with its customers.

All district members for Buckingham and Winslow attended a meeting about the review with AVDC officers last month.

A report is being prepared which could be presented to cabinet in December.

Mr Stuchbury told the Advertiser: “My concern is if they’re going to close the office. It’s the public face of the council in Aylesbury.

“If they do what they’ve done in Aylesbury and replace that with a computer terminal, many people won’t engage with it at all.

“It’s nonsensical. To deliver services to people, you need face-to-face contact with them. That sort of thing can’t be replaced by a remote computer screen and a telephone call for an appointment another day.

“If you’ve got to get on a bus to go down to Aylesbury to find what you need, it’s a day trip.”

In Winslow, district councillor Llew Monger is looking at the possiblity of the town council working with AVDC to improve services.

Mr Monger has arranged a meeting next week with AVDC directors to discuss issues relating to AVDC’s relationship with Winslow.

He told the Advertiser: “I’m hoping to discuss how Winslow Town Council might be able to assist AVDC in providing a better service to local residents.

“I’m hopeful we can come to an understanding by which we can provide a better service overall by working together.”