Flintshire Council is preparing for life after County Hall.
Currently unoccupied parts of the Raikes Lane campus are planned to be knocked down with a “large proportion” of staff potentially moved to a new home in Ewloe by 2018.
The local authority is embarking on an “ambitious strategy” for its Mold campus which would involve moving office staff from County Hall – formerly known as Shire Hall – to the unoccupied Unity House on St David’s Park almost five miles away.
The vacant phases three and four of the site are earmarked for the bulldozer as part of a multi-stage proposal to redevelop the site which would eventually lead to full disposal and demolition – potentially in the sixth year of the plans.
Annual operating costs for the Mold building currently stand at £1.2m with estimated maintenance costs for the next 25 years predicted to be £26m.
Disposal of the County Hall part of the site to a developer for housing and associated development could raise between £4m and £6m.
The move to present a business case for the redevelopment of the site and transfer of functions was put to Flintshire Council’s cabinet in a behind closed doors session earlier this week.
The council has reduced the size of its corporate office space by more than 40 per cent since 2014 and now only occupies phases one and two of the Mold campus.
Phase three houses CCTV operations while the fourth area was mothballed in 2015.
The move to Unity House, which has been empty since Unilever vacated the premises two years ago, would initially exclude councillors and corporate staff and enable council to make “effective use of County Hall” and “creating additional efficiencies facilitating the demolition of phases three and four and preparing for wider site development.”
Up to 300 staff might stay in phases one and two for a period of time along with the IT facilities.
A “vast majority” of work required to bring Unity House up to scratch is thought to be cosmetic in nature and will generally cover creation of additional parking, new IT infrastructure and furniture.
The relocation proposals would also see the provision of “further civic office accommodation for a reduced number of staff either on the existing campus or elsewhere”.
The authority continues to pay costs for the empty spaces in phases three and four and demolishing the sites would create running cost efficiencies of £250,000 per year which would pay back demolition costs of £1.2m within five years.
Council chief executive Colin Everett told the scrutiny committee last week the two empty wings of the County Hall campus represented a “cost liability” to the council.
Cllr Aaron Shotton, Labour council leader, said the site was currently “too large” and “too inefficient” for the authority’s workforce.
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