Councillors have pledged to learn lessons from the vastly over-budget Corby Cube civic hub when they build the £43 million Project Angel office complex in Northampton.
The plans for a new base for Northamptonshire County Council will see 2,000 staff move into the town centre on the Angel Street site, which is currently used for staff parking.
Opposition members have called for reassurance that the scheme will not suffer the same issues as the Cube, where the taxpayer has already footed a bill of £48.2 million, more than £12 million over the estimated £36 million cost.
The latest expenditure on that building has come in the form of £600,000 to be spent on repairing the building’s leaky roof.
At a meeting of the county council’s cabinet yesterday, Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib, Delapre and Rushmere), said: “We welcomed Project Angel, but we need reassurance that we are not going to have the same situation as in Corby.”
In response, Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage (Con, East Hunsbury and Shelfleys), cabinet member for economic growth, said: “I feel very sorry for the members of the Corby community, and we have learned lessons from that.
“We have conducted a study of the area and spoken to people in Corby. We have sought an awful lot of advice.
“I can’t say we will never get to that situation, but we will be very careful to avoid the same pitfalls.”
The Project Angel plans were unveiled last October, and the county council says the extra influx of people will provide a £12 million boost to the economy.
Concerns were also raised at the meeting over the loss of car parking spaces in Angel Street, which Councillor Glynane said would leave staff with an annual bill of £1,680.
But Councillor Gonzalez de Savage said it was not accurate to suggest every member of staff would park at the new site.
He said: “We are not comparing apples with pears. We will not be moving 2,000 people into the building.
“There will be people working in much more mobile ways, and it will not always be that they turn up in their car. We will encourage other methods of transport.”