Multi-million-pound new council HQ not opposed

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Opposition politicians have said they will not oppose plans to build a multi-million-pound new council headquarters in Northampton.

The Chronicle & Echo first revealed in 2010 that the 
Conservative leaders of Northamptonshire County Council were planning to build a large new office complex in the town centre.

Today, councillors were due to back more than £5 million of initial funding towards the £43 million project.

Speaking ahead of a meeting where the funding package was due to be agreed, the leader of the opposition at County Hall, Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre) said his party would not vote against the proposal.

He said: “It’s something we back. We think it’s the right move.”

The development would see 2,000 council staff brought back into Northampton town centre from outlying buildings around the county.

Councillor Glynane said he believed that would boost the town’s economy, adding: “I think it’s a good thing to do on that front.

“But I think we have to look at what sort of parking there will be. If we’re going to bring 2,000 more people into the town centre how will the road network cope and where will these people park?”

The new head offices would be built in Angel Street, at the back of the current County Hall building. To fund the development, the council would initially take out loans, but they would be paid back by selling off 12 other council buildings.

The council has said the ageing County Hall building currently costs £53,000 a week to run. In contrast, the authority has claimed the new building would cost just £16,500 a week.

Councillor Glynane said: “I would imagine the new building will be state of the art and I would hope there will be a lot of green credentials in it.

“And we all know County Hall is very expensive to run, there are leaks through the roof all over the place.

“Our office has even got a leak in it now.”

The council has said it expects work on the new building to start in 2014.

The county council has said the development of the new office building will help it protect services by freeing up money which otherwise would have been spent on repairing ageing buildings.

Work on the new building is expected to start in 2014.

Over the past 18 months, the council has closed 42 buildings, saving more than £1.8 million.

The authority has said the new building would cost £16,500 a week to run, compared to the £53,000 a week cost of running and maintaining the listed County Hall building.

Under the proposals, only council staff would move into the new office building, politicians would re main in County Hall.

It is hoped the new building could be completed by November 2016.