Seaham council centre gets name change

Seaham Service centre in St John's Square has had a name change to Seaham Contact Centre after complaints from councillors and residents that it sounded like an A19 garage.
Seaham Service centre in St John's Square has had a name change to Seaham Contact Centre after complaints from councillors and residents that it sounded like an A19 garage.
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A MULTIMILLION-POUND civic centre has been renamed after concerns it sounded like a garage.

Community groups, councillors and residents expressed worries the new building in St John’s Square, Seaham, would be mistaken for a mechanic’s business if it was called Seaham Service Centre.

The £19million Durham County Council complex, which houses a library, registry office, housing and benefit advice sections among other departments, has since been officially called Seaham Contact Centre.

County Council and Seaham Town Council member Eddie Bell said: “It was suggested it was called Seaham Service Centre and a collective of county councillors for Seaham said we were worried about it sounding like a garage on the A19.

“That was the initial name for it and we suggested something more personal to Seaham, like St John’s Centre, but it was ruled out because we wanted to try and portray the whole of Seaham, rather than just a little area.

“It is a contact centre, so it was suggested by the collective Seaham Contact Centre would be appropriate for the whole complex, because there are regeneration officers, library and East Durham Homes among others there, and that name reflects that.”

One woman, who is a member of a community group and has used the centre since it opened in May, but did not wish to be named, was among those to complain.

She said: “I thought it deserved something better, but then we were told Durham County Council doesn’t name buildings after anybody.

“We didn’t want a fancy title, just something personal, although the new one is better.

“One thing we do want is a sign up showing people where the library is because they can’t find it.”

The county council told the Echo the title Seaham Service Centre was only used internally and was not its official name, although the Echo has found examples of where it was used on a poster and in a press release.

Sue Kelley, asset project manager for the council, said: “Seaham Service Centre was one of a number of suggested names put forward when we were deciding what to call the new customer access point.

“We considered a number of alternative names before finally deciding on Seaham Contact Centre.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham