Borough defends rent option

TOWN chiefs hit back today in a row over their decision to rent plush new offices rather then refurbish their old building or buy a new one outright.Ipswich Borough Council was criticised for renting Grafton House after it emerged the annual cost was far higher than previously thought.

TOWN chiefs hit back today in a row over their decision to rent plush new offices rather then refurbish their old building or buy a new one outright.

Ipswich Borough Council was criticised for renting Grafton House after it emerged the annual cost was far higher than previously thought.

When factors such as rates, service charges and running costs are taken into account the annual cost comes out at around £2.3million.

It was suggested that it would have been more sensible for the council to take advantage of its land holdings in the town to build new premises.


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Now the council has hit back by releasing new figures in a bid to show that the decision to rent Grafton House in Russell Road in the town was the best option.

They now say the annual figure is £500,000 less than the £2.3million reported on Tuesday last week, as this was “an estimate” and failed to take into account interest being made from the sale of its former Civic Centre headquarters and adjacent spiral car park for £8.15million.

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John Carnall, Deputy Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “It is clear that renting is a cheaper option than having to pay millions of pounds patching up an old building for a few years.

“Renting also gives us the flexibility to review our needs in the years ahead.”

The new figures released by the council appear to show renting to be the cheapest of four different options looked at - with an annual cost of £1.8million.

This compares with £2.6million a year for renovating the Civic Centre for a further five years, £3.2million a year for renovating the Civic Centre to modern standards or £2.8million a year for building new premises.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.>

Options explored by the council:

a) Renovation of Civic Centre to minimum standard for five year life - £2.6m total annual running costs

b) Renovation of Civic Centre to modern standards and preferred service delivery model - £3.2m

c) Rent - £1.8m

d) Build replacement on own land - £2.8m

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