COUNCIL chiefs are set to discuss contentious plans to move their customer service centre to the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington.
Members of Warwick District Council’s Cabinet will discuss arrangements for the relocation of its customer services department to the existing Pump Room shop when they meet on Wednesday (July 5).
They will also look at potential alternative locations for the shop.
The move comes as the council seeks a temporary base for its homelessness officer and housing services department after moving out of its Riverside House headquarters in June.
The intended plans sparked a online petition – ‘Hands off our Pump Rooms’ – started by The Leamington Society earlier this year, who are opposed to the historic building being used for purposes other than recreation and the arts.
Riverside House, on Milverton Hill, was the base for 350 council staff but due to a combination of its size, running costs and more flexible working following the pandemic, it was no longer considered fit for purpose by WDC.
Staff will be temporarily relocated to Satisford in Warwick and Leamington Town Hall, with a customer service area set up for face-to-face services at the Pump Rooms.
The Leamington Society believe this will not only alter the appearance of the historic building inside and out but also deprive local artists and authors, The Leamington History Group and The Leamington Society the opportunity to sell their wares.
Leamington Society spokeswoman Marianne Pitts said previously: “The Pump Room is not the right place for the public face of WDC Housing Department and the homelessness Officer and “temporary” solutions may become permanent.
“There are plenty of alternative sites in the town centre.
“Why not restore the Town Hall?”
The move has also proved unpopular with residents. The petition attracted over 1,000 signatures.
Members of the Cabinet will discuss the relocation of its Customer Service Centre to the existing Pump Rooms shop, including considering recommendations for the design of the layout, and the budget for the project. Councillors will also consider the recommendation to pursue an alternative venue or approach for the existing Pump Rooms shop.
A WDC spokesperson said feedback from residents and groups has informed the recommendations for Cabinet to consider.