CHIPPING Norton Guildhall is now a one-stop shop for council and police services in the town.
From Monday, West Oxfordshire District Council’s reception staff at the building in Market Place have been dealing with police matters, including presentation of driving documents and reports of antisocial behaviour and lost and stolen property.
They can also put people in touch with members of the Chipping Norton neighbourhood police team and pass reports of incidents to the force, issue firearms certificate application forms and give crime reduction advice.
The move follows an announcement last year by Thames Valley Police’s commander for Cherwell & West Oxfordshire, Supt Colin Paine, that he wanted to sell the town’s police station, in London Road, and move officers to a “more efficient” base. As well as housing district council services, the Guildhall is also the home of Chipping Norton Town Council’s offices.
As a result of the change, people will have access to police counter services in the town on weekdays from 8.45am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4.30pm (4pm on Fridays).
The police station was only open from 10am to 2pm.
Mark Booty, West Oxfordshire District Council’s deputy leader and the cabinet member for community safety, said: “We were very keen to help the police maintain valuable front counter services in Chipping Norton and are pleased to provide this service for them from the Guildhall.
“For residents, it has the added benefit of being a town centre location. It has longer opening hours and is easily accessible.”
Mr Paine added: “This new front counter will give residents access to police counter services for an extra 15 hours per week and allow them to visit more easily, as it’s in the town centre.
“The service has been improved thanks to our close relationship with the district council.”
He said that the change would have no effect on police operations in the town and local area.
The town council wants to acquire the historic Victorian police station, at the junction of Horsefair, Banbury Road and London Road, for community use, such as a library and a museum.