Eden District Council last night (Thursday 19 January) agreed in principal to plans to rationalise their office accommodation in Penrith on to one site, potentially saving £100,000 a year on running costs.
The plans would involve the sale or lease of the Council's Mansion House and Corney Square premises in Penrith, with money raised from the sales or leasing being used to fund a potential £1.2 million extension to the Town Hall in Penrith, which could house all of the Council's offices on one site in the town (with the exception of Penrith Tourist Information Centre and the Penrith and Eden Musuem).
Since June 2011, when Eden's Executive considered a report on the future of the Council's office accommodation, Chief Executive Robin Hooper and a small group of officers have progressed proposals to relocate all of the Council's accommodation onto one site in Penrith.
Eden District Council's Leader, Councillor Gordon Nicolson, said: “Rationalising our office accommodation onto one site in Penrith would ensure the Council is well placed to meet the challenges of the future. Last year, we balanced the Mid Term Financial Plan to 2015 and this impetus is continuing. A one site office operation is common sense, it will save the Tax Payer £100,000 per annum, but also offers efficiencies in working practices and the potential for sharing accommodation with public and voluntary sector partners.
“This project also benefits the wider economy by retaining access to public services in the northern part of Penrith at the Town Hall, complimented by additional parking facilities, to encourage residents, shoppers and visitors to explore the town from another access point and for the benefit of local businesses.
“The Council’s decision to approve the principal of a single site development will enable further feasibility work to be done. A final decision will be made when a business case has been produced.”
Eden's Chief Executive, Robin Hooper will lead the single public office plan project, with a £10,000 budget for the final feasibility stages. The Council's Mansion House and Corney Square offices will be put up for sale or lease in March 2012 and any offers received will be considered by the Council. Members of the Council and the public will be kept informed of the project’s progress.
The options for the location of the extension and the form and size are part of the second stage of the feasibility to be undertaken. The specification for the Town Hall extension should include the:
IT Annex (former mortuary building)
Council Chamber as a multi-usable space for hire
A Members Room
Two Committee Rooms
A Leader’s Room
A Civic Hospitality space
Hot desking space for 20
New offices for 50
Five Interview Rooms
Two Meeting Rooms
An extended reception area
The Council's Chief Executive, Robin Hooper said: “Progressing the one site project is a fundamental part of the Council's business plan, we need modern facilities to meet the needs and aspirations of the local community. We are working to acquire more assets in the North of Penrith and are speaking to our partners to ensure this part of town remains economically vibrant. At the same time we also recognise the high regard the public has for historic buildings such as Mansion House and we will handle its sale or lease accordingly.”
For more information about Eden District Council visit www.eden.gov.uk or follow us at www.twitter.com/EdenCouncil
Notes to Editors
For more Information contact the Communication Officer at Eden District Council tel: 01768 212137.