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Possible Move from Town Hall for Scarborough Council

Possible Move from Town Hall for Scarborough Council

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 11:03pm 15th March 2012.

Details of a proposal which would see Scarborough Borough Council move from the Town Hall to a new site, freeing up the existing site for redevelopment as part of the wider regeneration of the town centre and seafront, have been announced by the council following a comprehensive accommodation review.


The plan would see a £3 million cash investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) used to purchase the new “fit-for purpose” site, in exchange for an equity share in the redevelopment of the Futurist and Town Hall sites, which could be accelerated as a result of the agency’s involvement.


The offer from the HCA, made last week, is subject to the council agreeing to the deal before the end of this month because of restrictions which require the funds being committed within this financial year.


Under the proposal, which Cabinet is being asked to recommend for approval next Tuesday (20 March) before it is put to all members at Full Council next Friday (23 March), the Customer First facility would remain in a town centre location.


In the report to Cabinet, Chief Executive Jim Dillon and Head of Finance and Asset Management Nicholas Edwards say the configuration of the Town Hall is not suited to modern working.


Coupled with ongoing maintenance costs which are set to spiral to £5.7 million over the next 25 years and an estimated £1.7 million needed for an IT upgrade and associated works, they say the best option for public finances is to relocate the office accommodation to a new site elsewhere in Scarborough, while maintaining a strong Customer First presence in the town.


The report, which is available for residents to view on the council’s website, goes on to say the relocation of office accommodation away from the town centre would have “little quantitative material impact” on the town centre economy, according to an independent study, with the 340 members of staff who currently work at the Town Hall collectively contributing just 0.6 per cent of the total retail turnover of the town centre. Future investment and new employment on the site would more than compensate for the projected loss.


Mr Dillon said: “While the exact terms of the joint venture agreement have not yet been finalised, we believe it will be a catalyst for major investment in the town centre and seafront which will result in significant regeneration.


“The Homes and Communities Agency, which has replaced Yorkshire Forward as a driving force for economic regeneration, would be putting in a substantial amount of money, as well as a number of assets it owns on the Futurist site.


“I believe this agreement not only represents good value for taxpayers, but will result in the accelerated redevelopment of the Town Hall and Futurist sites, bringing growth, new jobs and new expenditure into the town centre economy.


“Looking at our options for the future, staying where we are is by far the most expensive option. We will save significant sums by moving to a new, more modern facility. Due to the high cost of staying where we are, we have been exploring options for some time and although the circumstances of the offer require us to make a decision sooner than we anticipated, it is a one-off opportunity we simply cannot ignore.”


Naz Parkar, Head of Area at the HCA said: “I am really pleased at the prospect of the HCA being able to invest £3 million in not only helping to redevelop the town centre of Scarborough but also in helping enable the council to move in to a building that is more suited to its needs.”


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