PLANS to close the One Stop Shops in Batchley, Winyates and Woodrow have been backed by the executive committee of Redditch Borough Council.
The closures will bring a £65,000 per annum saving to the cash-strapped authority and if rented out to new businesses, could bring in £5,000 in rent in the first year rising to a possible £7,500 in subsequent years.
Councillors heard that numbers using the shops had been steadily falling leading to their opening hours being cut while a partnership with Allpay meant that residents could now pay their rent and council tax at any Paypoint or Post Office.
In addition there were Paypoints and or a Post Office at all the One Stop areas affected and were open for longer too.
Borough officers added that there would be one-to-one advice for customers to help them move to a different payment method or use other premises.
None of the staff would be made redundant either, but current vacant posts would be cancelled to absorb them.
The payment desk at the Town Hall would also remain open.
“The way people do business has changed and we have to evolve and similarly we cannot afford to keep in operation an old fashioned way of working,” said Councillor Mike Rouse (Con, Church Hill).
“The fact that we are in a position to offer one-to-one support illustrates to me that numbers must be reasonably low.”
However Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) said the One Stop Shops brought added viability to the district centres.
“Even though the numbers are diminishing those who go there like going there – it’s re-assuring for them, maybe because of their age or infirmity, and it helps the viability of the centres,” he said.
Coun Brandon Clayton (Con, Astwood Bank & Feckenham) replied: “It’s disappointing the opposition is going against this because it’s something they proposed some time ago.
“There are sound reasons for doing so now because there are other facilities available and if people still want to pay cash the Town Hall is not far from anywhere.”
The plans were duly approved by six votes to two and will now go forward to full council in January.
If given the go-ahead, the shops will close on April 1, 2020.