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Full cost of council move revealed

PUBLISHED: 20:00 29 December 2004 | UPDATED: 05:30 02 March 2010

CREDITORS of former power giant TXU Energi lost more than £16 million when Endeavour House was sold, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Documents released by Suffolk County Council under the new Freedom of Information Act reveal details of the cost of the authority's move to its new home last year.

CREDITORS of former power giant TXU Energi lost more than £16 million when Endeavour House was sold, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Documents released by Suffolk County Council under the new Freedom of Information Act reveal details of the cost of the authority's move to its new home last year.

And they reveal that while council tax payers "saved" millions on the deal, the total net cost of the moves so far totals more than £18 million.

That will be reduced when the council gets money from the developers of the old St Helen Court site and it should get more still when St Edmund's House in Rope Walk is sold.

The figures reveal that the county council paid the administrators of TXU Energi £5.1 million for the partially-completed shell of Endeavour House in early 2003.

But by that time the energy company had already spent £21.7 million on the building.

The council then had to spend a further £11.23 million finishing the building which finally opened in April this year.

A further £3.6 million was spent on buying Constantine House, the former Talk Electric Centre, which is being developed as the headquarters of the new customer service and computer company which will work for both the county council and Mid Suffolk council.

And just over £500,000 was spent on buying the Gipping Court depot in Constantine Road - near the other two major buildings.

To offset these costs, the county council received £2.4 million from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) for the land on which St Pauls House, St Giles House, and other buildings currently stand.

The land is to be included in the redevelopment of Suffolk College and the creation of a new University campus.

That does not include any money for St Edmunds House, which is not part of the EEDA deal. St Edmunds House is expected to be sold at a later date once the move to Constantine House has been completed.

There are no figures for the amount the county council is receiving from developers Raven Audley Court for the former headquarters building in St Helen's Street.

That is because the deal has not yet been completed and the figures are considered commercially sensitive at present. That means they are exempt under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.

The former St Helen Court building is to be converted into sheltered accommodation for the elderly - and some experts believe the value of the deal could be as much as £5 million.

The figures also reveal that Suffolk County Council expects to pay an electricity bill of £174,000 for Endeavour House - even though the building generates its own power through photovoltaic cells.

The county also has a gas bill of about £13,000 and water and sewerage charges of £14,000 a year.

Endeavour House's rates bill totals £422,000 a year - about 75 per cent of which goes straight back to the county council.

Do you think Endeavour House is good value? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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