CHESHIRE West and Chester Council will save £750,000 per year by relocating staff from County Hall to a new £20m office building.
That’s the view of chief executive Steve Robinson, who is backing plans to sell County Hall to the University of Chester for £10.5m and buying office space within the iconic HQ development for £19.5m.
He told the workforce in a letter: “One way of improving efficiency will be to decrease the number of buildings we occupy. Our plans to sell County Hall and move to the HQ building are still in progress.
“This move makes practical as well as economic sense.
“For example, we would save £750,000 per year on reduced running costs and business rates.”
Mr Robinson also gave more detail on the latest round of restructuring which will lead to redundancies, as already reported in The Chronicle.
He wrote: “Local councils are not immune from the effects of current recession. Predictions for local government have been gloomy.”
He added: “To meet the challenge we need to act quickly and decisively to put ourselves in a position where we can deliver improving services to our customers and retain a solid and lean platform to become the leading council we would all wish to be. This means savings now.”
Trade union Unison fears up to 1,000 more jobs could go, although Labour opposition leader Derek Bateman believes it will amount to a further 200 redundancies.
Cllr Bateman, in a motion to the council, called for a public consultation over whether moving into the HQ building represents value for money against a background of economic difficulty and job cuts.