ABOUT 420 staff from Cheshire West and Chester Council have now moved across to £20m offices within the HQ building.
About 120 employees from the departments of human resources, democratic services, research and intelligence and business support were the first to transfer to County Hall, with a reception up and running.
And they have now been joined by 300 staff from children and young people’s services and legal services along with some IT workers.
The chief executive’s office and communications team will transfer after the Whitsun bank holiday involving about 30 people. A final phase will see a sprinkling of staff moving into HQ from outlying offices.
There will be 500 staff permanently based in the building with facilities for up to 600 during, for example, training sessions.
The major part of the process, which began at the start of the Easter holidays, is expected to be completed in June.
Labour group leader Derek Bateman has concerns about a new workplace strategy at HQ which places an emphasis on open plan working and will see space per employee reduced by a third from 12sq m per person to just eight.
It foresees ‘hot-desking’ – desk sharing – and home-working for some staff and even encourages the use of cafes and restaurants which are described as office accommodation for free.
Meanwhile, the University of Chester, which bought County Hall for £10m to house the faculties of education and children’s services and health and social care, has started work on three floors to convert the premises.
Vice chancellor Prof Tim Wheeler says there is a potential for 1,300 students together with up to 300 staff.