Work progressing on new county hall

WORK is on schedule to complete a new complex for Suffolk County Council by the end of next April.The authority was the major beneficiary of the demise of TXU – it inherited a 60% built five storey Ipswich headquarters for the knock down price of £16.

By Graham Dines

WORK is on schedule to complete a new complex for Suffolk County Council by the end of next April.

The authority was the major beneficiary of the demise of TXU – it inherited a 60% built five storey Ipswich headquarters for the knock down price of £16.9millon.

To be known as Endeavour House, it will replace the existing County Hall in St Helen's Street which comprises of four separate office buildings.


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In charge of the project is Peter Revell, who spent 18 years in quality management for Eastern Group and who was assigned by TXU in September 2001 to oversee construction work.

When Powergem took over TXU and abandoned the headquarters in mid construction, he was tasked to continue his work for the county council once it had negotiated its purchase.

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"If the county council had decided to move to a new headquarters with just £16.9m to spend, it would have ended up with a functional building, probably of pre-fabricated construction," says Mr Revell.

"But it has taken over a £40million top of the range building in the style and quality of City of London headquarters, on which TXU had already spent more than £23m."

The new county hall – to be known as Endeavour House – will be one of the most state-of-the-art office complexes in East Anglia.

The design incorporates two blocks joined by a glass-covered atrium with linked walkways. At either end of the atrium – bigger than that at county hall in Chelmsford – will be two "town squares" with the aim of creating a street scene atmosphere to promote a spirit of community within the council organisation.

"We are not just building a set of offices but creating a work environment to help strike a balance between service delivery and employees' cultural aspirations," says Mr Revell.

Anne Bailey, the assistant director in charge of council communications, says the complex will enable employees to work together as a team, which is impossible at the existing county hall.

"Our present headquarters staff are scattered over a large site in separate buildings. At Endeavour House, we will be able to have education and social services staff working alongside each other on proving services for children. It will be a far more efficient set-up."

Underground reservoirs will collect rainwater, which will then be recycled, and pumped around the building for use in toilets and wash rooms.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the headquarters of an organisation that tries to cajole other employers to limit car parking and force staff onto public transport, is the provision of a multi-story car park with 529 spaces for its own employees.

Mrs Bailey denies this is hypocrisy. "It is 200 fewer than our present building, but many of our employees do have to use cars on council business.

"We hope that the proximity to Ipswich station will encourage out-of-town employees to commute by train, and we are providing plenty of space for cycles."

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