COMMUNITY contact centres in Wychavon may be combined with libraries in a bid to save money.

The proposals would see the contact centre in Droitwich being re-housed in the town’s library in Victoria Square.

The existing community contact centre building in the High Street, which the council owns, would then be available for sale or let.

Under the plans, Pershore library, in Church Street, could move into the ground floor of the civic centre in Queen Elizabeth Drive.

Meanwhile, the opening hours for the Evesham community contact centre in Abbey Road could be reduced.

Counter staff would also be replaced with self-service payment kiosks.

The most detailed plan is in Droitwich, with preliminary ideas for the contact centre to go at the rear of the ground floor of the library along with three interview rooms and a meeting room.

The work would be undertaken as part of a major refurbishment of the library and could save £60,000.

Opening hours would be 9.30am-5.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and 9.30am-7pm on Tuesdays and Fridays – this would reduce opening hours from 40 to 35 but give later access to council services for workers.

The alterations to the Droitwich and Pershore contact centres would require a capital cost of up to £100,000.

Both Wychavon District Council and Worcestershire County Council, who run the libraries, hope the idea would save them money in the long run.

At a meeting of Wychavon District Council’s executive board, managing director Jack Hegarty said: “This is about joint working with the county council.

“If we can keep these vital public services, it’s best to join them up and then they’ve got a better chance of surviving.”

Councillor Charles Tucker said: “This is a controversial issue.

“While I appreciate the issues that are there, and the financial issues, it’s quite clear there is a strong feeling the Pershore library should remain on it’s current site.”

However, John Smith said: “We need to live in the real world and if we want a strong and vibrant library we’ve got to work with others to make sure it happens.”

Councillor Margaret Rowley described the idea as “positive,” but pointed out the existing Droitwich contact centre drew people to the High Street.

The executive board agreed for the proposals to be set out for consultation and, subject to the results of the consultation, for responsibility for the progress of the plans to be delegated to deputy managing director Vic Allison.