Ipswich council set to buy Grafton House HQ in bid to save £300,000 a year

Grafton House, the home of Ipswich Borough Council in Russell Road

Grafton House, the home of Ipswich Borough Council in Russell Road - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Borough Council is set to buy the freehold of its Grafton House headquarters in a deal that could save about £300,000 a year.

And the deal could pave the way to work starting on rebuilding the Crown street multi-storey car park.

The council has been based at the building in Russell Road since 2005 when it moved into the new offices after the closure of Civic Centre.

However it never owned the building – it occupies its offices on a 15-year lease which has five years to run.

Now the owners of the building are prepared to sell – and the borough is hoping to buy the lease with a loan at a low interest rate.

Council leader David Ellesmere said the cost of the purchase could not be disclosed at present – but it is believed to run into several million pounds.

However the cost of servicing the loan for the purchase would be much lower than the rent. Mr Ellesmere said: “We are able to access loans at a much lower interest rate than the amount we currently pay in rent.”

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The exact saving remains confidential – but we understand it is in the region of £300,000 a year.

The deal includes some waste ground between Grafton House and West End Road, and Mr Ellesmere said this would be converted into a staff car park in the short term.

He said: “At present our staff park in spaces in the Portman Road car park, but while the Crown car park is being rebuilt they will move to here – freeing up more spaces for the public there. In the long term we may look to build a new office there.”

Opposition Conservative group leader Nadia Cenci said if the deal saved the council money, she would support it: “I do not know all the details and I shall study it before the meeting, but if it does reduce our costs then it would not be something we would oppose.”

The purchase is due to be discussed – and almost certainly approved – at next week’s meeting of the borough’s executive.