A petition has been launched to save a customer service hub in St Neots that supports some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

A petition has been launched to save a customer service hub in St Neots that supports some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Huntingdonshire District Council's (HDC) cabinet is proposing to close its customer service centre, based at the Priory Centre, which has angered some users and councillors.

Centres in Yaxley and Ramsey are also earmarked for closure.

Sandie Giles, a district councillor for St Neots, says figures show that 8,000 people used the St Neots facility last year, despite a reduction in its opening hours.

"No consultation with the town council or other independent councillors or our residents took place," she told The Hunts Post.

"I feel passionately about our residents losing yet another service. Cabinet members need to work more closely with towns and parishes and to listen to what residents are saying. They ride roughshod over common sense and local wishes, and push through their money-saving projects. St Neots has already lost so much, we really can't afford to lose any more services. We must do all we can to protect the most vulnerable members of our society."

Cllr Giles also pointed out that staff at HDC were already struggling to keep up with the volume of enquiries.

"Some people have told us they have been kept waiting up to 10 minutes trying to get through on the telephone so how will they cope with another 8,000?"

The customer service hubs are used by people to obtain advice on various topics such as benefits advice and HDC services, and also enable people to pay fines and make other payments.

More than 300 people have signed the petition, launched by Cllr Giles and her husband, Cllr Derek Giles, who is the town's mayor.

"The people who will lose out are some of the most vulnerable in society," said Cllr Derek Giles.

"We have been told that people can phone or use online services or even jump on a bus, but if you are a single parent and forced to choose between feeding your children and finding the bus or train fair to Huntingdon it is not difficult to imagine that people will struggle."

HDC was contacted by The Hunts Post but it has said it will provide a response once it has received the petition.

INFO: The petition is available at: www.gopetition.com/petitions/petition-against-closure-of-hdc-customer-services-in-st-neots. Paper copies of the petition are also available at the Priory Centre and other outlets around the town.