Council to negotiate lease deal to keep Kingswood Civic Centre
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Members of the South Gloucestershire Council Resources Sub Committee have endorsed proposals to negotiate a lease arrangement for most of the office space at Kingswood Civic Centre. If the deal with a significant public sector body can be finalised, it would mean the council maintaining ownership of the building and having use of the council chamber, training facilities and One Stop Shop.
The option was presented to Members as part of the Accommodation Review, which is seeking to save council money from being spent on surplus office space. The proposal is hoped to save around £400,000 per annum through rental income and reduced running costs.
The paper presented to members followed consultation with staff and the public and reaffirmed the priority for council to reduce unnecessary office costs over cutting services. During the course of the review process a public sector organisation has expressed an interest in leasing the majority of the office space at the Civic Centre on a long-term lease. Due to the ongoing nature of the discussions currently underway, it is not yet appropriate to name this organisation.
Members also said that if it was not possible to agree the lease by the end of October, they would re-assess options to reduce spending on office space and plans for the building at their meeting in November.
Councillor Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: “I am optimistic that a deal can be done with potential new tenants in the Civic Centre. If we can reach an agreement then I hope we are able to get the best of both worlds. We would be able to save the money we need to on excess office space, protecting frontline services, but still being able to use the council facilities such as the meeting chamber, training rooms and the One Stop Shop.”
If the arrangement goes forward then there will be an impact for those staff who do not need to be based in Kingswood for their work. It is anticipated that those staff would re-locate to the council’s Badminton Road offices in Yate. Early engagement and consultation with staff and trades unions will be carried out to ensure the workforce is supported and involved in the change process.
If the current negotiations with potential tenants are successful, we would also like to move Kingswood library into the Civic Centre, to bring all of our services in Kingswood under one roof. The plan would be to have those changes in place around Spring 2018, with all staff moves having taken place by Winter 17/18.
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