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Talks continue over county council move

PUBLISHED: 06:14 12 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

FRANTIC negotiations were taking place overnight in an attempt to seal Suffolk County Council's multi-million bid to convert the half-built TXU headquarters into the new county hall.

FRANTIC negotiations were taking place overnight in an attempt to seal Suffolk County Council's multi-million bid to convert the half-built TXU headquarters into the new county hall.

Administrators for the failed energy giant TXU Europe, which was bought by Powergen last year, are attempting secure the best possible price for shareholders for the building, which is located in the Ipswich Village near Portman Road.

The deal, revealed last month, has been muddied by a rival bidder, and last night the council's chief executive Mike More and the authority's consultants were locked in talks with the administrators.

The county council is understood to have put in an initial bid of around £15million for the complex, known as New Russell House, which when completed will be worth be worth around £40million. It gives the authority the opportunity to move into plush new offices, potentially making the present county hall in St Helen's Street available for Suffolk College, which is bidding for university status.

If the negotiations fall through, it will be a huge blow to the county council, which would not be able to finance the market price of constructing and fitting out of a building from scratch.

A council spokesman last night confirmed that a rival bid for the Russell Road site had been on the table for some time, but could not give any details.

Nor would he speculate on the likelihood of the deal being snatched away from the council at the last minute.

He said that negotiations were still continuing, with an announcement expected later today .

He added: "Nothing is set in stone. I can say that there is another bid for the property but beyond that is in the realms of speculation. No one here is privy to the details. That is between the bidder and the administrator operating on behalf of TXU."

The council spokesman said that any deal would have to have to be approved by council members before it could go ahead.

He added: "This is a council led process. Members will have to be happy with the scope of any deal that is processed."


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