Plans for future of County Hall to be discussed

01 April 2014 (Archived)

Millions of pounds could be saved in the coming years through the sale of Northumberland County Council’s headquarters, a new study has found.

A report to the council’s Policy Board next week suggests “significant saving opportunities” of more than £13million over the next 25 years could be achieved through lower running costs and the use of newer, more cost efficient buildings.

The council’s preferred option is to move the civic headquarters away from the current County Hall site and relocate to other parts of the county, with a new smaller corporate headquarters at Ashington.

Arch, the arms-length development company working on behalf of the council, has been asked to develop an investment plan for Ashington to bring more people, economic prosperity and activity into the town centre. It is hoped the Council’s headquarters will form a key building within this £38million project.

The plan is for key decisions to be made by October this year which will include timescales for implementing the plans.

Even if full relocation is agreed then, some work will still be needed to be carried out at County Hall to enable staff to work at the current site for “up to four more years”.

Councillor Grant Davey, Leader of Northumberland County Council said: “The council is working in a challenging financial context – a significantly reduced budget means we have to change the way we do business, looking at everything we do and taking action to reduce costs and support local communities.

“A number of options are now being considered for the future of all our buildings, which could create significant savings. Our preferred option is relocating to new offices away from the current County Hall site to other locations in the county, with a new smaller corporate headquarters at Ashington.

“New offices mean we could benefit from lower running costs, create a more flexible environment for new ways of working and accommodation fit for 21st Century working. The initial options review indicates a possible saving for the council of more than £13million over 25 years.”

Councillors will consider the proposals at the Policy Board meeting on April 8 before more detailed work is carried out on all the options.

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