DARLINGTON’S Citizen of the Year Lol Degnan has officially opened the new customer services centre at Darlington Town Hall.

Mr Degnan, who won the top prize in The Best of Darlington Awards, joined Darlington Mayor Coun Charles Johnson and council chief executive Ada Burns in unveiling the £750,000 facility.

The new centre is much bigger than the old one and has more private booths and four self-service points which will help to keep waiting times down.

As well as accessing council services such as housing benefit and business rates, customers can also get advice from Darlington Credit Union and the Citizens Advice Bureau which are both part of the new centre.

Ada Burns, chief executive of Darlington Council said: “It’s fantastic to have an up-to-date centre which can serve our customers well.

“We aim to provide a quick and convenient service for residents and businesses.

“The new centre has been designed with our customers in mind.

“For example, having more private booths means that we can offer people the privacy they need to get advice or help with a problem and the self-service points mean that people can carry out straight forward tasks without having to wait.”

The original centre was built in 2005 but last year councillors agreed that a renovation was needed because it was struggling to cope with the volume of customers.