A new customer centre in Hove Town Hall will bring together the council and police, making services much more convenient for the local community to access.
This development is part of the council’s modernisation project and Sussex Police’s ‘Serving Sussex’ change programme, which are both underway to improve services for residents.
The move sees the local Hove Neighbourhood Policing Team returning to the town hall. When an earlier Hove Town Hall opened in 1882 it contained a police station where it remained alongside the rate collector’s office and town clerk’s office until the police station in Holland Road opened in 1964.
The Customer Centre, which opens on February 14, will contain a number of council services, including parking, planning, building control, private sector housing, taxi licensing and highways, as well as general enquiries. Staff from all these different services will be available to offer help to customers face-to-face.
Policing services previously located in Holland Road, Hove, will also be available at the centre.
Police Enquiry Officers will be on hand so that the public can report incidents and stolen property and get crime prevention advice.
The Hove Neighbourhood Policing Team will be working from a base located inside the building too.
Many people are now choosing to use public services online. Customers will be able to access both council and police services free online in the self-service area of the centre.
The development of Hove Town Hall provides a much more welcoming environment with a modern, accessible design and staff on hand to welcome customers and direct them to the service they require.
The move will offer more flexible choices, enabling people to find a number of services in one place. The move will improve service, save money and space, reduce the council’s carbon footprint and enable Sussex Police to work from a more central location.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said:
“Hove Customer Centre will enable our residents to contact a whole range of public services from one location with extended opening hours. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the council to establish closer working relationships which will help us deliver joined up services.
“Creating two main customer centres in Hove and in Brighton is improving access and services for residents whilst also providing significant savings. That means the council can maintain essential services at a time when government is reducing our budgets.”
Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, Divisional Commander for Brighton and Hove, said:
“Local people told us they want to see more of their neighbourhood policing team out in their area and to be able to talk to them in a convenient location. Working together in the heart of the community in Hove means people can expect a better service, as police will be working jointly with partners at the council to identify and tackle any problems. Together, the partner agencies get a full picture of what is happening and can draw on different expertise to help the community. This is just one example of changes happening within Sussex Police to modernise the Force and improve service.”
The new centre in Hove follows on from the opening of Brighton’s Customer Centre in Bartholomew Square and the grouping together of services at the Moulsecoomb and Whitehawk Hubs. These initiatives will assist with the council’s overall modernisation strategy to make savings of around £725,000 a year as well as providing an opportunity for all services to review their business processes for the benefit of customers.
This move is also part of Sussex Police’s programme of change to modernise the force and improve service to the public, whilst making savings as their overall budget is reduced. The aim is to make sure policing teams are out working in the heart of the community and not stuck behind desks in police stations – this move is one instance of this principle in action.
Hove Town Hall is open to the public Monday to Friday 8.45am to 5pm.