THIS is the first glimpse of Havant’s new ultra-modern council offices.
With its open-plan, chic look, it is a world away from the dated 1970s reception that residents used to walk into.
The new atrium will be open to the public from September 1.
It comes as part of a revamp of the civic centre which will see many public services moving on to the site.
As reported in The News, a residents’ vote decided the name of the refurbished offices will be Public Service Plaza.
Council leader Tony Briggs said the new office was unrecognisable from its predecessor.
He said: ‘In terms of quality and delivery the customer will experience a great step forward from the old civic offices.
‘It’s modern, but it’s also functional.
‘It should impart the customer with a feeling of security and professionalism in terms of the way they are being dealt with.’
As well as the new reception area, staff will be working in open-plan offices.
Half of the building has now been refurbished and the other half will be given a makeover before the project is completed next May.
Once finished, around 250 Hampshire County Council staff, who work in adult and children’s services, will be working alongside 420 Havant Borough Council staff, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Connexions and other voluntary organisations.
Cllr Briggs added: ‘You make one request at one desk to provide borough council services, the county council and indeed the voluntary sector.
‘Behind the desk there will be staff who can deal with all these inquiries.
‘It’s more efficient and a much better service for the customers.’
From December, a new open-plan council chamber will be opened.
The larger chamber, which has no fixed furniture, will be a flexible space so it can be hired out for weddings, civil ceremonies and seminars.
But the new reception area will not include a cafe when it is opened in September.
Following the closure of the council’s canteen, leaders are still deciding what catering facility will be available.
Cllr Briggs added: ‘When the whole place is up and running and fully functional there will be a facility for people to purchase beverages and a snack.’
Communities minister Baroness Hanham will be officially opening the atrium in late October.
Once the project is complete, Cllr Briggs said he hopes to get a cabinet minister to officially unveil the Public Service Plaza.