MEMBERS of the public will not be able to get into Huntingdonshire District Council s headquarters after the end of this month. Instead of being directed to one of five reception areas on four floors of Pathfinder House in Huntingdon s St Mary s Street, t
MEMBERS of the public will not be able to get into Huntingdonshire District Council's headquarters after the end of this month.
Instead of being directed to one of five reception areas on four floors of Pathfinder House in Huntingdon's St Mary's Street, there will be a single ground floor location in nearby Centenary House - the former home of Cambridgeshire Business Link - on the corner of the ring road.
The move is part of the £23million process of replacing HDC's headquarters on its present site and building a new depot in Latham Road, which is almost ready for occupation.
A team of customer service advisers will be available at Centenary House to deal with benefits, housing, planning, Council Tax and general enquiries, all in the one location. People will also be able to make payments at Centenary House - the cash office at Castle Hill House, Huntingdon, will close.
On Friday July 27 the cash offices in Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots will be closed for the day for staff training, but card payments can still be made by calling 01480 388165. This means that customers will not be able to make face-to-face payments or conduct other enquiries on that day. It will be business as usual from July 30 onwards.
Unlike Pathfinder House, the new location provides disabled access that meets the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act. Opening hours will be 9am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 4.30pm Fridays.
The establishment of the new centre will mean that Pathfinder House will be closed to the public from 30 July - except for access to public meetings.
Construction of the new offices is due to begin later this year. They will include a ground floor customer service centre to complement the council's existing telephone and Internet services.
In the meantime, archaeologists have started excavating the Pathfinder House car park to see whether any relics of Roman or mediaeval Huntingdon lie beneath. Trial digs a year ago suggest little is likely to be found, in spite of the building's closeness to Castle Hill and the discovery of a 500-year-old burial ground 200 metres away in Walden Road during work on the new bus lane, which is due to open tomorrow (Thursday).
Pathfinder House project manager Richard Preston told The Hunts Post yesterday: "Since we found nothing during the preliminary work, we're not expecting to find mosaic floors or ancient chariots. But the archaeology is the biggest risk to the schedule if anything significant is found."
As work progresses over the next two months, HDC employees and councillors will gradually lose their parking spaces in St Mary's Street. But Centenary House has 26 spaces across the ring road from the building, and 60-70 spaces will be freed up across the river at Bridge Place when council workmen move to Latham Road in early September. A further 200 spaces will be added when the existing council depot in Godmanchester is demolished towards the end of the year.
The original plan to use the depot for officials displaced from Pathfinder House was abandoned when Centenary House became available.