Anger at Worthing housing service move to Shoreham

PLANS to move Worthing Council’s housing services unit to Shoreham have been attacked by a former Citizens Advice Bureau manager.

Worthing Lib Dem borough councillor David Chapman, who used to head the town’s CAB, said yesterday (Tuesday, November 16): “A drop-in facility in Worthing town centre is an absolute necessity.”

The proposal is in a report going before a meeting of Adur and Worthing councils’ joint overview and scrutiny committee tomorrow (Thursday, November 18) – calling for the move to Adur Council’s Civic Centre to happen before the end of December.

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The officers’ report forecasts a total joint saving for the two authorities of £64,740 in 2011/12.

Mr Chapman said: “More often than not, those who find themselves homeless do not have cars, cannot afford to use buses, and often have a range of other problems and issues that makes it difficult to keep appointments.

“A drop-in facility in Worthing town centre is an absolute necessity.’

And Bob Smytherman, a Lib Dem member of the committee, said: “We understand totally the need for savings at this time, but we must protect the most vulnerable in our own town first.

“To some, even the extra cost of a journey to Shoreham will seem like a mountain to climb.”

The report says: “Both councils have been served well by the two separate housing teams in the past, and the proposals seek to balance the corporate need to find savings, through, amongst other things, avoiding duplication of management and the provision of a high standard of customer service through combining the best of both authorities’ practices and experience.”

It continues that, for a temporary period, the existing reception in Portland House would continue to be staffed by housing staff whose aim would be to redirect customers through making an appointment with the relevant officer, either at Adur Civic Centre, or one of the Worthing Town Hall interview facilities, or by a home visit.