THE Mayor of Kirkbymoorside has criticised a decision to remove Ryedale District Council staff from the town’s library.
Currently, two members of council staff visit Helmsley, Pickering and Kirkbymoorside one day a week where they deal with customers face-to-face and accept the payment of bills as well as deal with any general enquiries.
But from April, the service will no longer operate after councillors decided to introduce a new system of payment and withdraw its staff members from the libraries.
In the new system, all council bills will include a barcode, allowing customers to make payments at any post office or at any Pay Point Outlet.
The council made the decision at its full council meeting earlier this month in a move which is expected to save them thousands of pounds.
But Kirkbymoorside Mayor Chris Dowie believes the loss of the staff is a poor decision by Ryedale District Council because they visit the library at the same time as representatives from North Yorkshire County Council and the town council - providing a one-stop shop for residents.
Cllr Dowie said: “It is a real backward step for people in Ryedale, particularly for people in Kirkbymoorside.
“It is the expertise and the relationships they have with the people in the towns that people can go speak to them confidentially in the interview room. They can’t even do a couple of hours once a month so people in Kirkbymoorside could speak to them about their benefits.
“If you are claiming some sort of benefit, you don’t want to be spending the sort of money to travel all the way to Ryedale House in Malton.
“It’s more difficult for people in Kirkbymoorside to get to Malton than it is for others. Equally, look at people who live further out at Gillamoor, Fadmoor, Rosedale. Even if you have got a car, you are still have to pay the fuel to get there.”
She added: “People have been coming to visit the library to see this good practice of the councils working together. They have been coming from all over the country to see it and it seems Ryedale are throwing that good practice away.”