Take a look inside Suffolk Coastal District Council’s new headquarters
Council staff are this week settling into new surroundings, following completion of a move “driven by efficiency and effectiveness”.
Suffolk Coastal aims to save £200,000 in a year of occupying new headquarters at Riduna Park, Melton – rising to £500,000 in the long term.
East Suffolk House replaces the old Woodbridge offices – sold as part of a wider project, which included the sale of its Cedar House property on the opposite side of Melton Hill.
Geoff Holdcroft, deputy leader of the council, cabinet member for economic development and chairman of the accommodation programme board, said the transition had come on schedule and under budget.
“This hasn’t cost the taxpayer a penny,” he added. “It’s a move driven by efficiency and effectiveness.
“Everyone can work together. For example, we have the development management team working more closely with our planning team.
“The sale of Melton Hill has paid for this building – and a little more, which will go into reserves, to be spent on services in the future.”
In July, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney’s cabinets approved proposals to create a new single, financially self-sufficient council from 2019.
“We are looking forward to the future of local government,” said Mr Holdcroft. “I think, what we see here is literally that.
“Mid Suffolk and Babergh found a different solution [moving to Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House headquarters].
“This was effective for us because we are already in partnership with Waveney and have a common cadre of officers across two sites [East Suffolk House and Waveney’s Riverside building in Lowestoft].”
The sale of land at Melton Hill – for an undisclosed value to Active Urban Property Group – freed up 3.23 acres of space for about 70 new homes in Woodbridge – although a planning application has yet to be made.
Contracts have been exchanged, and the sale is on course for completion in 2017, once planning consent has been agreed.
Mr Holdcroft said: “The sale was subject to planning permission and we will look at it with the usual public scrutiny.
“We believe a social housing provider will be on board, and the developer has promised a third of homes will be affordable, which we will hold them to.”