A combined benefits agency and job centre is to be set up in Colchester as part of a radical overhaul.

Moves to bring the previously separate services under one roof could mean some of the property used by the organisations will become redundant.

But employment chiefs claim the changes will not cause people to lose jobs and new vacancies might open up within the newly created one-stop service.

Essex has been chosen as a "pathfinder" area under a new system called Jobcentre Plus. The Colchester scheme is expected to be up and running by October. Chelmsford has already changed to the Jobcentre Plus scheme.

It might mean some of the job centre's office space, which is in High Street and Southway, will be lost because it will not be needed.

Published Thursday, March 21, 2002