A severe flood ended in the evacuation of Bradford Council's Contact Centre yesterday causing disruption for hundreds of callers.

The centre normally occupies the first floor of a building in Nelson Street.

Staff are now using the Alhambra as a temporary home and hoped to be have the telephone lines open to callers again today.

Anyone trying to get through on the main (01274) 431000 number - which deals with those ringing about faulty street lights or missed bin collections - or through benefit and Council tax enquiry lines was yesterday unable to do so.

Today the lines should be back up and running, although callers have been warned that they could still face delays for the next couple of days. Ceilings, carpets, the electrics and other equipment have all been damaged in the flood which came through from the 5th floor where Revenue and Customs staff are housed.

A full assessment is being made, but the cause of the flood has not yet been established. People are being asked to look at the www.bradford.gov.uk website to check out their next step. The website can be accessed via PCs in public libraries, Council information points and in the reception at City Hall.

Some of the 50 to 60 contact centre workers are to work in other Council buildings such as Britannia House and Jacob's Well.

Wallace Sampson, strategic director of customer services, said: "We are doing all we can to minimise disruption but there was no way we could keep staff at the contact centre as the damage is severe.

"We are currently trying to set up a system to take calls at the Alhambra, but obviously this will take a bit of time and we ask customers to bear with us. The disruption will last at least a couple of days. In the meantime we are asking customers to refer to our website for details of their nearest public office, or if their inquiry is not urgent to just wait a few days."

e-mail: jo.winrow@bradford.newsquest.co.uk

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