THE development of Landmark House on the edge of Ipswich as offices for the county council and police authority cost more than £20 million.

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That is £6 million more than the original price of refurbishing the 10-year-old building – but the cost of the overall project has come in £6 million below budget after plans to buy and refurbish a second building near the town centre were abandoned.

The original cost of the project involved the purchase and refurbishment of Landmark House near Asda in north west Ipswich and St Edmund House in Rope Walk near the town centre.

The total cost of that project was £26.6 million – of which the purchase and refurbishment of Landmark House was expected to cost between £11 and £14 million.

Before work started, the decision was taken not to go ahead with the St Edmund House part of the project and concentrate entirely with the Landmark House site.

This pushed the cost of Landmark House up to £20.2 million. The only extra cost still to come in is faced by the police who still need to open a new office in Ipswich town centre to replace the Elm Street station which is now nearly completely empty.

The move has enabled the county council to move out of five other offices – some will be sold and the lease on others will be surrendered.

As well as moving out of Elm Street the police are also closing other offices.

The move is expected to save the two authorities £1million a year between them – an increase on the £500,000 annual saving that had been anticipated when they had planned to refurbish the two buildings.

The figures are expected to be published by the two authorities today to answer concerns about the cost of the project which has been controversial since it was first proposed two years ago.

Liberal Democrat finance spokesman Andrew Cann has expressed concern that the Landmark House element of the project cost much more than originally planned.

The council’s figures are expected to show that the additional elements built at Landmark House after St Edmund House was abandoned – including an evidence store and a centre for interviewing members of the public – pushed the bill up by £3.2million.

Mr Cann has said this means Landmark House cost £3 million more than it should.

County councillor with responsibility for Suffolk’s property holding Lisa Chambers said the two authorities were satisfied they had achieved value for money.

She said: “I think we have worked incredibly well with the police and we have managed to find more savings by bringing services together.

“We have got trading standards officers working alongside the police – and by working well together we are able to drive down costs. The savings are much more than originally proposed.”

Suffolk’s new police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore is also happy about the project.

He said: “The long-term financial benefits that will be made for Suffolk are substantial, and while the project has been fast-moving and has had to adapt to our needs, I am delighted that we have achieved our goal of delivering significant year-on year savings.”

4 comments

  • So some simple maths 20 million cost, 1 million a year savings so that is a 20 year payback period to break even. does not look a very good investment to me

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    A Smith

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • If they're satisfied they achieved value for money, why have they spent so much effort into keeping details of the over-spend, which we all knew had happened, from the public who paid for it?

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    beerlover

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Oh give yourself a pat on the back why don't you. How can spending more than 20 million on a project that was priced at 11-14 million be a saving. Its disgraceful that these money wasters are not brought to account whilst others are struggling to pay modest bills. As for Tim Passmore saying that "I am delighted that we have achieved our goal of delivering significant year-on year savings.” since when were these his goals he has only been in the job for a dog watch.But of course he is coming from a political viewpoint something that the nation rejected in the shunned election for a police commissioner. Rant over. Answers on a postcard please. The St Edmunds House should be renamed Red Herring House methinks.

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    John W

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

  • Keep it up ! These cost cutting measures are to be applauded. I'm particularly impressed that they've decided to outsource their PR operations to the EADT

    Report this comment

    Caliope

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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