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Lichfield District Council could move after report admits current offices are too big

Lichfield District Council could move to a new home after a report admitted its current offices are “far greater than is required”.

Lichfield District Council House

Lichfield District Council House

The local authority is now looking to spend up to £50,000 drawing up an analysis of its needs.

The council’s Cabinet will hear the request for the funding at a meeting on October 10.

The current District Council House contains a number of buildings, including some dating back to 1862.

The report said the time was now right for the authority to assess its options for the future.

“As the council has begun to decrease in size, the workforce is much smaller and so is the space requirements, meaning the current office is far greater than is required,” the report explains.

“The nature of the building, with three listed sections along with an ageing extension, has led to high running costs.

“A desktop market assessment has shown that alternative provision could be available to more appropriately meet the ongoing needs of the council at a significantly reduced cost, while supporting modern and flexible working practices and cultural change.

“With decreasing demands and increasing costs, it appears appropriate to undertake a detailed assessment and options appraisal for our future office accommodation to ensure we obtain best value for the council and meet out ongoing needs.”

The District Council House site had been a Grammar School until 1903, with Lichfield Rural District Council buying it in 1917 when it was immediately taken over by the army until the end of the war.

A study by the local authority has revealed that its current staffing of 183 people would need office space of around 19,000sq ft – just over half of the current 37,417sq ft it has available.

The £50,000 for the full assessment would come from a reserve of £150,000 earmarked for maintenance work on the current District Council House.

Cllr Andy Smith

Cllr Andy Smith

Councillor Andy Smith, Cabinet member for corporate and customer services, told LichfieldLive that the report did not necessarily mean the local authority would move from its current home.

“In the current climate it’s right that we should consider, both independently and with partners, whether our existing property, including our offices on Frog Lane, meet the needs of our services and our customers.

“No decision has been made, we’re simply looking at the options available to us.”

If the funding is approved then a study would take place with the results expected at the start of 2018.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

9 Comments

  1. Katie Bowers

    4th October, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    In Walsall the Police Station have closed and the Police have moved into the Council Offices; people who are mobile and field-based hot desk. Why don’t Lichfield Council officers move into the new Police Station when it’s completed?

  2. Concerned Ratepayer

    4th October, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Do the ratepayers a favour and save some money by renting some commercial office space at Fradley Park. Sell or rent out the current offices to generate income.

  3. nellygb

    4th October, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    You just can’t make this stuff up can you. £50k for an appraisal and then this “Councillor Andy Smith, Cabinet member for corporate and customer services, told LichfieldLive that the report did not necessarily mean the local authority would move from its current home.”
    How about, with being cabinet member for customer service, you consider those council tax payers who have over the last eight years have had to deal with hard choices every day just to survive and continue pay their way many with no increase in their take home pay, and keep the 50k for when someone in the council takes charge of the situation and actually makes a decision to move. For gods sake some one has given their opinion if this is being mentioned…

    The report said the time was now right for the authority to assess its options for the future.

    “As the council has begun to decrease in size, the workforce is much smaller and so is the space requirements, meaning the current office is far greater than is required,”

    How much more do you need to know!!! Why are we continuing to pay you cabinet members the big bucks just for you to duck your responsibilities and continually sit on the fence…grow a pair and do your job.

  4. nellygb

    4th October, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Oh and take that smug look off your face, it’s not a good look!!

  5. medici2471

    4th October, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Offer it up to U+I to incorporate into the Friarsgate redevelopment in exchange for new, smaller, cheaper bespoke premises. Sorted.

  6. Steven Norman

    5th October, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Do we really need district AND County Councils in 2020?

  7. Steve

    5th October, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    It is a great shame:
    1. That we the council did not look to see if they could have moved into the current library building and made it more of a local centre.
    2. That they have to spend £50k on a report. Probably from a friend, who used to work for the council, has now set up a consultancy and who will produce a generic report, that agrees with whatever they have been told to find.
    3. Our councillors fail to see that employing fewer people, would require less space. Was this never taken into account when looking at the implications of the job losses.
    4. That we have both a district and county council. There will be great duplication of roles. It is why many councils became Unitaries.

  8. Darryl

    8th October, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Steve Norman… thread.

    Parish… etc. Why aren’t these things handled electronically? Are their decisions so vital that they need to sit round a table? A move to more community based, social decision making is surely the future.

  9. Eric.N.Drinkwater

    9th October, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Some of us have supported A Unitary Authority for Staffordshire for some time now.

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