Council is 'committed to Weston'

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

COUNCIL chiefs have again insisted they are not abandoning Weston, despite approving a plan that could see hundreds of jobs moved away from the town.

COUNCIL chiefs have again insisted they are not abandoning Weston, despite approving a plan that could see hundreds of jobs moved away from the town.

They say North Somerset Council's base will remain at the Town Hall and people will get a better deal thanks to the £14.6million purchase of a new office in Clevedon.

Unitary authority leader Nigel Ashton said the decision would ensure the council is in the best possible shape for the future.

He said: "As a council we have no intention of abandoning Weston. We want a prosperous Weston and remain committed to an employment-led strategy in the town.

"The Town Hall will be our headquarters.

"Indeed, we will be taking the opportunity to re-model the Town Hall so that more staff can be located there than at present.

"In addition to the Town Hall, we will still be employing staff in many buildings in Weston, including libraries, children's centres, schools, sports centres, the Winter Gardens, Playhouse, Museum, Registrars Office and Tourist Information Centre."

In November the council announced that it plans to sell off The Playhouse and Winter Gardens, while the future of North Somerset Museum and the Tourist Information Centre remains uncertain.

Councillors voted in favour of the deal by a large majority at Thursday's meeting, with little opposition from Weston members.

The plan would see seven offices in Weston closed and 762 workers moved, but Cllr Ashton insists many of them will move into an improved Town Hall.

Cllr Ashton says the move will see council costs reduced, services across the district improved and closer working with North Somerset NHS will be enabled.

He added: "Consolidating our office space in the north and south of the district will bring other huge benefits for taxpayers. It will enable us to realign our services around the needs of residents and will not only allow our own services to work more closely together, but will also give us the opportunity to look at closer working with other public sector agencies such as the NHS North Somerset."

For a news special on the move to Clevedon, see this week's Mercury.

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