Bill for Landmark House move looks set to be �14m

IPSWICH: The cost of making the controversial Landmark House into a new office block for the police and Suffolk County Council is likely to be in the region of �14million, the Evening Star can reveal today.

Officials at the council and police authority have refused to say how much they have budgeted for the individual elements of the deal.

They insist this is “commercially sensitive” and will only say that the total cost of buying and renovating Landmark House and St Edmund House in Rope Walk is �23.7m.

However The Star has been told that the two bodies are paying something more than �5m for Landmark House, which is on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate – and have a budget of somewhere over �8m to turn it from a “shell” into office accommodation for hundreds of county council and police staff.

That is likely to bring the total cost of preparing the building to nearly �14m at a time when the county is preparing for savage cuts.

Opposition spokesman for resources Andrew Cann said both authorities should come clean about the costs – and he was concerned to ensure that they were getting the best possible deal for council taxpayers.

He said: “That seems a lot of money to invest in a single building and I shall be asking if that is really the cheapest option.

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“I will also want to know if it might not have been cheaper to put up completely new offices in the town – there are so many questions about this deal.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Police Authority, which is handling publicity for both bodies, said they neither could comment on details about the cost because they were still waiting to tender for the work to refurbish the buildings.

Once all the deals are completed the full cost would be revealed.

County council deputy leader Jane Storey could not comment on the cost of the purchase and fitting out of Landmark House, but said it would be considerably cheaper than building a new office block.

“Of course we had to look at all the options and we would have been daft to go ahead with this if it would have been cheaper to start from scratch.

“Landmark House is just a shell, but this was by far the best deal, and I am quite happy about it,” she said.

n Are you happy about the decision to buy and rebuild Landmark House? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

n For the answers to the 20 questions we asked about the purchase of Landmark House, see the Evening Star later this week.