No 'wholesale' council worker movements

PUBLISHED: 10:34 04 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:30 25 May 2010

WESTON will remain North Somerset Council's base and there will not be a 'wholesale' movement of staff from the town, senior councillors say.

WESTON will remain North Somerset Council's base and there will not be a 'wholesale' movement of staff from the town, senior councillors say.

Despite plans to close offices where 762 workers are based and buy new premises in Clevedon, the Conservative executive insists it is still committed to job growth in the resort.

Their comments come after Weston MP John Penrose slammed the unitary authority's £16million scheme to move to the Clerical Medical building.

Council leader Nigel Ashton said: "Although there have been various rumours and myths regarding our planned centralisation of services at two hubs in Weston and Clevedon, we remain committed to an employment-led strategy in Weston, set out in our core strategy, as we do elsewhere in North Somerset.

"Furthermore a revamp of the Town Hall will see an increase in the numbers of staff there and it will remain our headquarters facility.

"There will be no wholesale decamping of staff from Weston town centre."

He said the office purchase, which is to be partly-funded by a £14million loan, would be a very good deal for taxpayers.

Deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees said agreements with private developers to build non-council offices at Locking Parklands and on the airfield meant more jobs would be created in the town.

He added that the unitary authority was also keen to proceed with the Dolphin Square and Tropicana schemes.

Cllr Ap Rees said: "All these schemes have our full backing and the jobs created will more than compensate for any redeployment of current council staff to Clevedon.

"Furthermore that redeployment will not take place overnight, giving ample opportunity for further job creation in Weston to come forward."

However, the council is still keeping the number of employees who will be moved a secret.

It was also unable to say how many workers will be moved into the Town Hall and how it will fill a building with an 800-worker capacity if those workers are not moved from Weston.

The council would not say whether it had investigated the offers of offices in Weston that were publicised in the latest edition of the Mercury, or whether it had advertised the redevelopment of Dolphin Square.

A final decision on the office purchase is expected to be made at tomorrow's full council meeting.

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