Office sale could net Horsham District Council £5m

JPCT 230413 County Hall North, Horsham, West Sussex. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130424214348
JPCT 230413 County Hall North, Horsham, West Sussex. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130424214348

An office move could be agreed by Horsham District Council next week and might net the authority £5m.

Proposals to sell its current headquarters in North Street and move into County Hall North and share offices with West Sussex County Council are set to be debated at a Full Council meeting next Thursday October 9.

The officers’ report suggests that the authority could receive £6m in capital receipts from the sale, and is asking councillors to authorise £1.1m costs to facilitate the move.

If approved staff could move into County Hall North as early as June 2015.

Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), leader of HDC, said: “We have deliberated long and hard about relocating operations from our various buildings around the town centre to one centralised location at County Hall North – sharing accommodation with West Sussex County Council.

“The financial case for moving all our services to a single location is very strong. The current operating and capital costs associated with using several underutilised buildings is the main reason why we are looking at options for the future.

“Staying in the existing buildings would not provide best value for money for our taxpayers, whilst sharing an existing public sector building will bring significant longer term cost savings.

“The move also presents us with an opportunity to create a more modern and collaborative working environment for our staff which will contribute greatly to more efficient working.”

The three main office spaces, Park North, North Point, and Park House are all being marketed by the council.

However when proposals were last debated by HDC in June this year HDC chief executive Tom Crowley denied ‘cooking up’ an office move with the chief executive of WSCC to form a unitary authority, calling it ‘absolute nonsense’.

While most members spoke in favour of a move in principle former HDC chairman Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury) felt that the ‘public perception’ of the council might be ‘diminished’.

Plans were exclusively revealed by the County Times last November.

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