Speedy benefits decisions promised

Hull residents can enjoy instant decisions on many benefits when the city council's new customer service centre opens to the public on Monday January 31.

It follows months of building work, by Hull-based contractors, to renovate existing buildings in Alfred Gelder Street to create The Wilson Centre.

It will be a 'one stop shop' of more than 130 services providing a same-day decision on applications for council tax and housing benefit.

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Visitors can also register a birth or death, meet planning and highways officers face-to-face by appointment, apply for a bus pass, and many more services.

Coun Mike Ross, Portfolio Holder for Customer and Neighbourhood Services, said: "We are expecting many hundreds of people a day to use the Wilson Centre as it will provide them with an exceptional quality of service.

"The building is in a convenient city centre location near to bus routes, and it will be a bright, modern and comfortable environment to visit."

Customers will also be able to buy tickets for all productions at Hull New Theatre and Hull City Hall.

The Centre will also accommodate staff from partner organisations such as Probe, the employment agency, and help people look for work.

There will be more service areas and contact points where customers can be seen, enabling them to receive faster decisions with less time spent waiting.

Andy Brown, head of customer services, said: "The Wilson Centre represents a big change in service delivery and is expected to become the council's busiest customer service centre.

"The reduced opening times for some existing customer service centre sites are being made with care, taking into account customer usage levels.

For more information on new opening times for all customer service centres visit www.hullcc.gov.uk or call 300 300.