ASHFORD GATEWAY CENTRE
Gateway is an innovative response to customer demand offering transactional services in High Street locations. It moves on from the traditional one-stop shop and meets customer needs with multi-agency and cross-sector solutions. Clague were involved in the concept project in Ashford and assisted the KCC team in establishing the Gateway brand. It brings front office services together in high quality, fully accessible retail locations without the stigma often associated with public sector agencies. The interior was designed to accommodate a variety of different needs for community information and yet to be a cohesive and coordinated centre to help the community to understand how everything works together. The tight site for the centre meant that conflicting demands for privacy and openness were a challenge for Clague to meet. Private meeting rooms for confidential consultations with citizens have to work alongside open information terminals, while the space also needs to accommodate workshops, advice sessions and seminars. The pilot centre in Ashford has been an incredible success story and has set the template for the future of Gateway. Dover will be the final Gateway to be delivered in Phase One of a multi-phase project intended to deliver 14 Gateway centres across major towns throughout the county. Dover Gateway involves the remodelling and refurbishment of an existing Local Authority high street office and the adjoining former bank to form a new Gateway Centre. The interior has been designed to ensure an open plan feel throughout the building, to assist in creating clear sightlines and make orientation within the building immediately apparent. This also helps to ‘de-mystify’ the services provided, and encourages people to utilise the building. The external facade of the property will be repaired and refurbished as required and then re-branded throughout to create a uniform appearance. The existing draught lobby and ‘chequerboard’ glazed entrance to the current Council Offices will be removed and replaced with the standardised shop frontage. The new main entrance will be on the corner of Castle Street and Church Street, re-using the existing entrance doors. The works will involve some non-structural internal demolition and the stripping out of partitions, ceilings and fixtures where necessary. New partition walls and suspended ceilings will be provided, along with a new reception counter before the entire facility is redecorated and refurnished. The project commenced on site in
February 2009 with completion date set for May 2009.