Council in £1.8million move
COUNCIL chiefs are hoping to seal a deal for a £1.8 million move into new offices and stress the relocation will not cost council taxpayers a penny.Colchester Borough Council is in the final stages of negotiating to take over Rowan House, the former Anglian Water headquarters in Sheepen Road.
COUNCIL chiefs are hoping to seal a deal for a £1.8 million move into new offices and stress the relocation will not cost council taxpayers a penny.
Colchester Borough Council is in the final stages of negotiating to take over Rowan House, the former Anglian Water headquarters in Sheepen Road.
The council will keep the Town Hall and Angel Court in High Street, but Lexden Grange, where the planning department is based will be sold. A lease for two floors of offices above the jobcentre will not be renewed.
The council's new "Arms Length Management Organisation" housing department will be based at Wellington House, Butt Road, to keep it separate from the rest of the council, but so far it has not been decided where other sections will be located.
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At Angel Court, 40 staff will deal with members of the public calling in person or on the telephone. There will also be a cash office for people to pay council tax bills and buy parking permits.
Offices will be provided for councillors to meet constituents in the Town Hall, which will also be used for public functions.
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Cabinet member for assets and support services Kevin Bentley said: "This is the most important decision the council has made since they took the decision to build the town hall 110 years ago."
"It will have no impact on council tax. For a number of years we have been prudent and saved up for it.
"The most important thing of the move is to give our staff the best facilities we can which will improve our service to the public."
He added: "It will provide office space fit for the 21st century, which is important when trying to recruit people, which isn't easy. It won't be lavish, it will be good quality office accommodation."
The council had originally set aside cash to buy new offices, but Rowan House will be leased and the money used to pay for the cost of the move.
Executive director Mike Crouch said: "The plans we have drawn up will allow us to make better use of the money and the buildings we are responsible for. "Not only that but we believe we can deliver this new portfolio of buildings without it having an impact on council tax levels for a number of years to come."
Other office buildings considered in the council's hunt for new accommodation included the Royal London building in Middleborough, the Riverside complex, off Causton Road, Wellington House, Colwyn House, in Sheepen Place and Greytown House, in High Street.