Eltham’s Jobcentre Plus in Passey Place is expected to close under plans put forward by the Department of Work and Pensions.
All 40 staff and the centre’s clients would be transferred to the Woolwich branch in Wellington Street. The Catford and Bexleyheath offices are also closing.
The closure is part of a national consolidation involving 70 of the 714 small units, caused by falling unemployment and increased use of the internet for claims, with a claimed saving of £180m a year.
A new cadre of ‘work coaches’ is being recruited to help people find jobs, who will operate more locally, probably the Eltham Centre.
Last year, the Jobcentre’s landlord, Cranfield Investments of the Isle of Man, put in a planning application for the offices which would mean them being converted into nine flats with two extra floors being placed above the current three storey block. They would be a mixture of two and one bedroomed units. The application has still to be determined. It will form an expansion of the number of flats on the south side of the High Street.
The consultation from the DWP states that ‘in making the proposals, we have sought to maintain the services we offer claimants and to minimise the impact on claimants travel as far as possible. In some instances, this may mean slightly longer and slightly shorter journeys for some of our claimants’.