Council's contentious move to Leamington's Royal Pump Rooms is complete - The Leamington Observer

Council's contentious move to Leamington's Royal Pump Rooms is complete

Leamington Editorial 15th Apr, 2024   0

A NEW council customer service hub has opened its doors at the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington.

Warwick District Council’s customer service operations have officially relocated to the historic Grade II listed building.

The new hub, which opened to the public on Tuesday April 9, offers residents in person support and advice on a range of council services. There are also private areas available for those needing a one-to-one meeting with a member of staff.

Open from Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm the new facilities are running alongside the existing services located within the building, which include the public library, visitor information centre, theatre box office, art gallery and cafe.

But the move to the Royal Pump Rooms has been a contentious one.

A petition entitled ‘Hands off our Pump Rooms’ was started by The Leamington Society last year. The group is opposed to the historic building being used for purposes other than recreation and the arts and called on WDC to consider moving the customer services department to Leamington Town Hall instead.

But council officers concluded there was no suitable space available at the town hall.

Leamington Town Council submitted its objections to the plans as it believed the change of use was contrary to what the building was designed for and would have significant detrimental changes to the aesthetic experience, due to loss of light and vista, as well as inappropriate partitioning.

There were also 136 letters of objection from the public.

The customer service department’s relocation to the Pump Rooms is intended to be a temporary one following a move out of WDC’s headquarters at Riverside House in June last year.

Riverside House, on Milverton Hill, was the base for 350 council staff but due to a combination of its size, running costs and more flexible working following the pandemic, it was no longer considered fit for purpose by WDC.

A spokesperson for WDC said all customers wishing to visit WDC in person should now come to the Royal Pump Rooms, following the closure of the Riverside House HQ. WDC’s administrative offices at Saltisford, Warwick and Leamington Town Hall are not open or accessible for public enquiries.

Correspondence for WDC should be sent to the new registered address, Town Hall, Parade, Royal Leamington Spa CV32 4AT, the spokesperson added.

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