Doors close at Harpenden Citizens Advice Bureau in dispute over exclusive office use
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 May 2016
An information and advice charity which has operated from Harpenden Town Hall for a number of years has closed in a dispute over whether it can keep a room for exclusive use when it is refurbished.
Harpenden Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has opened for six hours a week in a first floor room for a number of years but the town council wants to reconfigure the whole of the floor so other parties can use it.
Although it has offered the CAB non-exclusive use of the newly-refurbished meeting room, the charity has declined the offer and shut its doors.
Mayor of Harpenden, Cllr Brian Ellis, said discussions about the situation began last July but the CAB had wanted to be able to keep their property on site and retain exclusive use. Their existing arrangement had finished at the end of March.
He went on: “They only use the room for six hours a week and have competition in Harpenden from the Money Advice Unit. We have offered them non-exclusive use of the new meeting room when we have built it but we want it to be available to councillors and other outside bodies who want to use it.”
Cllr Ellis said there had been meetings between the two parties and everything was in writing.
A spokesperson for CAB said that people wishing to contact the service were being advised to use the St Albans CAB in the Civic Centre.
She explained that as the Harpenden CAB was not currently open, the people behind it had decided to take the opportunity to consider their options.
She added: “There is an offer on the table to continue using that space but they are taking a step back to consider whether they should be looking elsewhere.”