March 12 2014 Latest news:
Monday, December 30, 2013
Relocating a Suffolk council to smaller offices to save money and provide a more modern working environment for its staff could cost £6million.
If Suffolk Coastal District Council does switch to new premises, officers expect the sale of its current Melton Hill site – which some observers say would be ideal for housing development – to provide most of the funding.
Officers have been researching the project for the past seven months and on January 7 will present to the district council’s cabinet the preferred option for the future.
The meeting will take place after the exclusion of the press and public because of sensitive commercial information in the report.
In preparation, the council is putting £6m into its budget over the next three years.
A report said the project was still subject to further detailed business case evaluations and assessments.
It said: “To provide sufficient flexibility within the programme for this process to progress, a provisional budget based on industry average standards has been included. The project is expected to be funded from internal resources only.”
Suffolk Coastal’s current offices, which the council has occupied since it was created in the local government reorganisation of 1974, are said to be no longer fit for purpose, increasingly expensive to maintain and too big for current staffing levels.
Four options have been considered by officers – three possible sites for a new office, and one option for remaining on the current site.
Councillor Robert Whiting, chairman of the Accommodation Project Board and Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for resources, has said: “The key for us is to ensure that we find a solution that provides value for money, when compared to our existing costs, while meeting the needs of our communities and our workforce.
“We cannot expect our staff to provide a high quality of service, if we house them in accommodation which is not fit for purpose.
“We need to create accommodation which is fit for the future.”