A NEW reception centre handling enquiries for two large departments of Tendring Council will open next week as part of the authority’s £1 million modernisation programme.

The council’s Pier Avenue office in Clacton, which was home to the benefits and revenues reception as well as other departments, has been closed to the public since June for refurbishments.

Work on the ground and first floors are now complete and the new-look reception area will open on December 10.

Joining the office will be the council’s housing reception, meaning the Pier Avenue building is the "one-stop shop" for people accessing housing or benefits services.

Licensing will also return to the Pier Avenue office, having moved temporarily to the Northbourne depot while work was carried out.

The Tourist Information Centre will remain at Clacton Town Hall to deal with visitor enquiries and the Princes Theatre Box Office, and a self-service portal will also remain in the centre to allow people to access a range of council services there.

The project aims to use more technology to improve services and efficiency.

The programme will also see the redundant offices at Westleigh House, in Carnarvon Road, make way for more town centre parking early next year, and a move out of the Weeley site in late 2019.

Work is ongoing on the top floor at the Pier Avenue office to refurbish it, as well as to create an internal link between the site and neighbouring Barnes House.

Clacton Town Hall will be the next major refurbishment site, with work on the former housing reception and the surrounding wing of the building due to begin in early 2019.

Carlo Guglielmi, cabinet member for finance, said: "The new reception area at our Pier Avenue office looks modern and fresh, and much more inviting for our residents and businesses who use it and the staff who work there.

“Refurbishment has also allowed us to fit new cables and building facilities which will be much more efficient to run, saving the council money in the future.

“I am very pleased at how well this project is running, and it is also good news that we can open our new office before the start of pantomime season as the temporary benefits and revenues reception would have made access to matinee performances more difficult.”