Should Harrogate Borough Council spend £9M on new offices ?

Harrogate Borough Council is encouraging residents from across the district to express their views on the council’s future office accommodation strategy through public consultation which opens on Monday 26th May 2014.

The consultation will provide the opportunity for residents to have their say on the council’s proposed plans to reduce the number of sites it occupies in Harrogate’s town centre (currently five) – a move which the Council say would reduce running costs and realise significant savings.



The need for a move to a single site has divided the council and does not have the support of the local Ukip or Liberal Democrats who believe that other options should be considered more seriously.

The consultation will provide details on two options which are being put forward for consideration – the council’s preferred option of relocating to a new purpose-built headquarters at Knapping Mount, or alternatively, consolidating down to three buildings: Crescent Gardens, Springfield House and Scottsdale House.

The consultation will include information on the benefits and costs associated with each option, together with other supporting information and FAQ’s, to enable residents to be better informed about the two options being considered. It will also include photographs of the existing buildings in case residents are not familiar with them, and a provisional design concept illustrating what a new building at the Knapping Mount site could look like.

The estimated cost of the proposal is between £7.9 million and £8.9 million after selling the surplus sites.

The council will be holding a series of drop-in events providing the chance to talk to members of the project team who will be able to answer any questions.



The events will be held on:

· Wednesday 4th June – Ripon Town Hall, 10am – 2pm
· Thursday 26th June – St Peters Church, Harrogate, 11am – 2pm
· Friday 27th June – Council Offices, Crescent Gardens, 1pm – 5pm
· Monday 30th June – Knaresborough House, Knaresborough, 10am – 2pm

For those that can not make the daytime events, you can also comment on-line at:

http://www1.harrogate.gov.uk/surveys/AccomodationProject/accstrat2014/accommodation.htm or comments can be emailed to consultation@harrogate.gov.uk

 

The consultation will run for ten weeks, finishing on Monday 4th August 2014. The results will then be considered by the council and will inform the final decision on its accommodation strategy in early 2015.

Councillor Anthony Alton, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council said: The council’s office accommodation strategy is one of the biggest decisions the council has undertaken since its creation in 1974, and we feel it is extremely important to hear residents’ thoughts before a decision is made.

Operating from the current five sites is costly and inefficient, and we seek to address this through our proposals. These will illustrate how the council can make savings and operate in the most efficient way possible while continuing to deliver quality services for the people of the district.

We have carefully considered a wide range of options and have concluded there are two viable options, which we feel we are now in a position to communicate to the council tax payer.

We encourage everyone to take part in the consultation which will help us to develop office accommodation for the council which will benefit the community for many years to come.

The public consultation will be available to complete on the council’s website at: www.harrogate.gov.uk/officeproject

Interested parties who require the survey in a different format should email consultation@harrogate.gov.uk or telephone 01423 500600.

Printed copies of the council report and consultation documents are available to view at the following locations: Harrogate Interim Customer Service Centre, Crescent Gardens, Harrogate; Ripon Customer Service Centre (Ripon Town Hall); and Knaresborough Library.


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