A COUNCIL leader says County Hall could be sold to pay for a new authority headquarters.
Cllr Mike Jones, leader of the shadow Cheshire West and Chester Council, speculated the HQ, overlooking the River Dee, could make a “nice hotel” but believes nothing is likely to happen for several years given the credit crunch.
His authority takes over on April 1 next year and its headquarters will be in Chester and initially at County Hall.
But Cllr Jones said: “We are looking to find new accommodation fit for purpose.”
He said the future of staff within local government was the priority at the moment, but added: “We need to rationalise our property portfolio and will probably need to sell property and send a cheque to the east to equalise the capital assets.
“County Hall could be sold. I would have no problem with that at all.”
About 500 council jobs are expected to be lost through natural wastage and voluntary redundancies as a result of the amalgamation of seven councils into just two – serving West and East Cheshire – with management and back office positions expected to be on the hit-list.
“Hopefully by Christmas we will know who is moving, where they are moving and who they will be reporting to,” said Cllr Jones.
“People are understandably nervous, concerned and slightly upset because things are changing quite rapidly. What we are trying to do is move as quickly as possible so we can settle things down.”