Posted: 22.06.21 at 10:06 by Coalville Nub News
North West Leicestershire District Council has revealed major plans to reinvent its office accommodation and customer service - which includes demolishing part of its current site.
But the Council says that it will help provide benefits for customers, staff and the taxpayer.
The estimated cost of these changes would be £2.8million, but that is significantly less than the cost of a major renovation or a new-build council office.
Pre-pandemic, the council says offices in Whitwick Road, Coalville, had already been identified as outdated, unfit for modern day working, inefficient, expensive to maintain and at odds with the council’s Zero Carbon agenda.
Potentially expensive plans to either renovate or build new offices have now been scrapped in preference of new opportunities presented by the learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The proposals recently presented to the council’s cabinet include:
• Refurbishing Stenson House to become a civic/democratic hub
• Relocating customer services to a Coalville town centre location (see artist's impression above)
• Demolishing the office space that sits behind Stenson House with a view to selling the land in future
• Repurposing Whitwick Business Centre to create a more compact, open plan office for staff to use flexibly in conjunction with homeworking.
Stenson House is the building the sits at the front of the council offices. The offices behind were added as an extension in the 1980s. It is this office extension element that would be demolished.
No changes are proposed to the council’s waste or parks depot.
One of the driving forces enabling this shift is the ways in which many of the council’s office-based staff are now operating.
Most are adopting a blend of home and office working.
It means the current council offices are at less than 50 per cent capacity on any given working day.
Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of NWLDC, said: “As part of our pandemic recovery plan we’ve seen an opportunity to improve our customer services, create a more modern and agile working space for our staff, vastly improve our carbon footprint, and make huge long term taxpayer savings on the money we spend on office accommodation.
“We pride ourselves as a council on offering value for money and spending our money wisely, and this proposal demonstrates we’re on the front foot, ready to take advantage of all we’ve learned from the pandemic for the benefit of our customers, staff and taxpayers.
“The proposals are moving forward quickly, and we will be consulting with the public later this year with a view to implementing the changes in 2022.”
A key consideration to the plan is also the long-term savings that would be made.
Estimates show that by adopting these proposals – rather than staying in the deteriorating and half empty current offices – will save taxpayers around £12million over the next 50 years.
The proposals are currently going through the democratic process and require full council approval.
Once this is given a public consultation will begin to ensure that local people can have their say.
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