Fenland Council looks set to stay put after councillors vote against Hereward Hall move
- Credit: Archant
Fenland District Council could stay at its current home in County Road with part of Fenland Hall being let out if a recommendation to cabinet is approved next week.
A meeting of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted against proposals to relocate the council offices at a cost of at least £832,000 to nearby Hereward Hall, which will be vacant when Cambridgeshire County Council move out, by six votes to three.
The vote came after a long discussion on the pros and cons of the move, which was put up for consideration when the county council asked if the district authority wanted to take over the more modern premises. However, Hereward Hall does not have a council chamber and councillors were concerned at the cost of providing the essential facility on top of the move.
Council leader John Clark explained: “This council didn’t go looking for change, Cambridgeshire County Council offered it to this council for consideration. The decision has not been made, there are a lot of uncertainties. It seems to be less desirable than it was.”
Councillor Steve Tierney was worried about the cost of the move spiralling out of control, while Councillor Peter Tunley was worried the cost of relocation may have to be paid for partly with council reserves.
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Fenland Hall is currently only 65 per cent occupied by council staff and Councillor Virginia Bucknor suggested exploring splitting the building and subletting, renting or even selling off the remainder.
Councillor Simon King did not want to rule out completely the move Hereward Hall and wanted further exploration of moving to Hereward Hall while retaining the civic half of Fenland Hall.
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A report to today’s panel meeting gave three options which included remaining at Fenland Hall, with limited improvements and looking at attracting partner organisations to share costs and promote joint working.
It was this option proposed by committee chairman Councillor Jan French that will now go to cabinet for discussion.