Contractor announced for £32m council HQ

16 Dec 2016

One of the country's biggest construction firms has been chosen to build the new headquarters of Northumberland County Council at a confirmed cost of £32million, it was revealed today.

The county development company Arch has awarded the contract to Galliford Try Building Limited - and work begins next month.

The project for the centre of Ashington is expected to employ up to 220 people in construction over the next 18 months and at least 55 will be new job or apprenticeship opportunities for local residents.

The office scheme involves a smaller and more cost-effective building than the current HQ in Morpeth which dates from 1981. The move - including saving on essential refurbishment and selling the Loansdean site for a new first school, retail and housing development - will save council tax payers around £16m over the next 25 years. It will also enable many council staff to work from towns across the county, restoring local services to residents as part of the administration's Market Towns Initiative.

The development in Ashington is one of the biggest regeneration opportunities in Northumberland, and part of a ten-year programme led by Arch that will invest more than £74million and see 1,000 high-quality jobs transform the heart of Ashington.

The new council HQ will cost £32million to put up, the contract has confirmed. The five-storey building, which will have associated car parking on Lintonville Road, is expected to use 30% less carbon then a traditional office.

It will include:

*Space for 910 work stations

*Customer service centre by the main entrance

*Conference facilities

*Publicly accessible meeting rooms, plus

*Cafe and rest room that can incorporate public access.

The new corporate HQ is part of the wider Portland Park development in the centre of Ashington. Construction is due to begin onsite next month [Jan 2017], with staff working from there in 2019.

Northumberland County Council Leader Grant Davey said: ‘This is a welcome next step in our Market Towns Initiative to regenerate and improve Northumberland’s towns. We’re pleased the scheme has now appointed a team to start work and can now progress for the benefit of the town, the county and the wider region."

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, said: “This is going to be a landmark development for Ashington and represents a serious long-term and major commitment, creating a superb new town centre environment and creating hundreds of jobs. I am excited to see the plans to revitalise Ashington continuing at pace.”