PLANS to close Caerphilly town centre's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) office and move 225 members of staff have come under fire.

Concerns have been raised not only for the members of staff affected but about the impact the closure will have on the town centre.

The DWP announced that they will be closing five offices in South Wales to relocate 1700 staff members to a new site in Treforest.

The move has been criticised by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) which has said that the move will take work out of local communities "where every job is needed".

DWP management have reviewed the feasibility of staff being able to move to the new location based on their home postcodes and they estimate that 600 will be outside the reasonable mobility to travel to the new site on a daily basis.

PCS believes that the actual figure will be much higher than this estimate, which does not take into account that "many staff have extensive caring responsibilities or disabilities, making travelling long distances impossible".

PCS Wales chairwoman Katrine Williams said: “It is disgraceful that senior DWP management have ignored union concerns about retaining local jobs and providing a sustainable future for our communities and is prepared to put our members at risk of redundancy for a vanity hub project.”

Caerphilly MP Wayne David and AM Hefin David both aired worries over the impact the closure will have on the town centre economy.

Wayne David said: “The closure of the Caerphilly office will have a detrimental impact on Caerphilly town centre.

"Caerphilly desperately needs more offices, not fewer at a time when efforts are being made to rejuvenate the town centre.

"Moving staff out of Caerphilly will inevitably have a negative impact on the town.”

Hefin David said: “The DWP’s own figures show a third of staff fall outside the reasonable mobility to travel category.

"However, the PCS Union rightly highlight the many staff members who have extensive caring responsibilities.

"How is relocating Caerphilly Benefits Centre to Treforest going to help my constituents with caring responsibilities?

"Taking 225 jobs out of Caerphilly will undoubtedly have negative impacts on the town centre at a time when the Local Authority is trying to improve the local economy."

Morgan Jones Ward Labour councillor James Pritchard said he's supporting the PCS Union in their opposition to the plans.

"This announcement is bad news for employees and shows a complete lack of regard to the consequences of moving 225 staff out of Caerphilly will have on town centre trade," he said.

"The relocation will reduce footfall in the town at a time when the local authority is consulting on regeneration ideas through the Caerphilly basin masterplan.

"The PCS union and Caerphilly employees must be supported."

Announcing the plans DWP secretary of state, Esther McVey said the plans further demonstrate "the UK Government’s continued commitment to investing in jobs and infrastructure in Wales.”

Secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairns said: “Having 1,700 UK Government employees at a purpose-built site is a positive economic boost for Treforest and the surrounding area. The new office will complement the UK Government Hub in central Cardiff and provide more, high quality employment outside of the city in a modern environment.

“The UK Government is doing all it can to foster economic growth, investment and sustainable employment by implementing key policies such as scrapping the tolls between England and Wales.”