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Four Norfolk registration offices could be shut

PUBLISHED: 07:58 15 October 2015 | UPDATED: 08:49 15 October 2015

Archant

Four registration offices could be closed as part of Norfolk County Council's cost-cutting efforts, it has emerged.

General view of Fakenham Connect. Picture Matthew Usher.General view of Fakenham Connect. Picture Matthew Usher.

Closures are proposed for Downham Market, Fakenham, Swaffham and Watton – which would save £25,000 in accommodation costs for registration services.

The council needs to make £111m over the next three years and every department has been asked to explore ways to reduce addressable spending by a quarter. Today further details will be released about the cuts – including those proposed for the fire and rescue service – to be discussed at the next communities committee at County Hall.

A council spokesman said: “The idea of closing four part-time registration offices at Downham Market, Fakenham, Watton and Swaffham to make accommodation savings was first tabled at the September communities committee meeting.

“The proposal also outlined a need to find alternatives for provision in public buildings at no cost so that the public is not disadvantaged.”

Watton Library. Picture: Ian BurtWatton Library. Picture: Ian Burt

If the offices are closed, the nearest available services are in King’s Lynn and Dereham. Others are in Diss, Great Yarmouth, North Walsham, Norwich and Thetford. Concerns about potentially losing the facility in Downham Market, which is open every day, were raised at Tuesday’s full town council meeting.

Mayor John Fox said: “We do have a town of elderly people and if an elderly person does need to register a death, it’s certainly a job to manage that journey if you’re on your own.”

Councillor David Sharman added: “A lot of building is planned for this town. Downham Market will be growing rapidly over the next few years, and young families will also need registration services.”

Councillors agreed unanimously to negotiate ways to keep the services.

The Norfolk County Council spokesman added: “However, it is important to stress that no decisions have been made at this stage.

“Discussions will continue at next week’s Communities Committee and a final decision about all service budgets will be taken by Full Council in February after a full public consultation.”

How could the closure of registration offices affect you? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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