Headlines: March 25th, 2003

A new model of one stop shop has been launched in the village of Waters Upton in Shropshire. It is housed in a custom built building designed to link people, services, facilities and activities. The building incorporates a post office, village shop and community office in which regular police surgeries will be held as well as other activities. On line facilities will give access to a growing range of public services, as well as to the full range of Internet sites. There is also an ATM cash machine.The project was initiated through a partnership between Waters Upton Parish Council and Telford and Wrekin Council. It was supported by the Countryside Agency, which provided a government grant of 250,000 pounds to develop the centre as its first “National Demonstration Project”. The building is owned by the local community, through the parish council.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett said: “This initiative is bringing new life to the heart of Waters Upton and helping it to thrive as a rural community”. She added: “I encourage villages and market towns across the country to emulate the success of Waters Upton. I hope that parish councils will lead similar local partnerships, with the voluntary, public and commercial sectors, and develop imaginative proposals for co- locating many services under one roof.”

The Post Office is currently trialling one stop shops across Leicestershire and Rutland. On line access is provided to a range of public services and an advisor is available to assist customers who want help. Local authorities are also developing one stop shops, some of which are limited to council services, but some also include other public services.