Council set to leave local landmark

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

1 month ago 408 views

News Politics Budget 23

Powys County Council is set to leave its offices at The Park in Newtown as part of its plans to cut costs next year.

Next week, Powys councillors will get their chance to probe the Liberal Democrat/Labour cabinet’s draft budget proposals.

On Monday, January 30, the council’s Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny meeting will look at budget proposals that cover a number of council departments, including economic development. housing and property, and highways transport.

Earlier this month the cabinet set their draft budget which includes increasing Council Tax by five per cent.

The council needs to make cuts and savings as part of the overall drive to find £16.4million to bridge its funding gap for 2023/2024.

Councillors will learn that a proposal to leave The Park office in the hope of saving £95,000 over two years is on the table. As part of the proposal, council staff currently based at The Park will be relocated to nearby Ladywell House.

Strategic property professional lead, Nigel Clutton explains that the £95,850 would be saved over two years – £47,925 in both 2023/2024 and 2024/2025.

Mr Clutton explains that the closure would provide savings of £65,850 due to as paying for “business rates, maintenance, servicing, utility costs,” will stop.

But the extra £30,000, Mr Clutton says, is “predicated on leasing the building to a partner organisation”.

If leased to another organisation Mr Clutton believes an income of £30,000 a year could materialise, but he admits in the assessment that this is a “financial risk” in the current economic climate.

“Ladywell House has been recently renovated and provides a long-term and sustainable building for delivering council services.”

“Additionally, co-locating services to a single building has environmental benefits as it reduces waste and reduces the energy consumption associated with delivering services from multiple buildings.”

Powys Council bought Ladywell House from the Welsh Government in 2017, the refurbishment and conversion to offices is estimated to have cost over £5 million.

In 2017, the purchase was seen as an an investment opportunity to generate income from the building.

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