A lifeline has been given to pensioners worried about how they are going to pay their bills once Eastwood cash office closes.
Broxtowe Borough Council who runs the cash office says it will look at alternatives for people to continue to pay their bills in cash in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
The announcement that the cash office will close this March has caused uproar across Eastwood and Kimberley.
Outraged pensioners and the disabled say they cannot use the alternative payment methods to clear their council bills becasue they do not have access to the internet and do not have cash cards to pay over the phone.
But the council has now offered a glimmer of hope to those really struggling.
A council spokesperson said: “We are looking at alternatives but only for exceptional circumstances for those who need to make a payment at very short notice and have no access to any alternative but to pay in cash.
“We are happy to discuss options with anyone who has concerns that they can’t pay any other way but this will be considered on a case by case basis.”
A public meeting was held this week in a bid to give the public some more information about the closure.
The meeting was organised by Eastwood town councillor Ken Woodhead who said the handling of the situation had been a shambles and Eastwood folk had been ‘left in the dark’.
Coun Woodhead said: “I’ve had so many people ask me about it in Eastwood. People are concerned about how they can make payments. They have not been informed properly about it. They (the council) have left the people of Eastwood in the dark. They should have put a notice out to town councils.”
The meeting was attended by members of the public, Broxtowe Borough Council officers and members of Eastwood Town Council.
Broxtowe Borough Council has said that residents and business owners can pay their housing and garage rent, council tax, business rates and other money they owe the council either online, by direct debit, by post or over the phone on an automated telephone line.
The council spokesperson added: “The decision to close the cash offices was not an easy one but the council needs to look for new and improved ways of doing things to tackle the budget challenge it faces.
“We are aware of some of the concerns that have been raised but would like to reassure our residents that there’s still a variety of ways that they can make payments to us including online, which is the easiest and quickest way for most people, direct debits, standing orders, by cheque and by telephone.
Cash payments will be possible for those who cannot pay using an alternative method via an electronic self-service kiosk at Beeston Council Offices and our Officers are happy to discuss payment options with anyone who is unsure or is genuinely unable to pay by another means.”