Town hall plans on track

PUBLISHED: 10:00 17 May 2011

Views of the Old Town Hall Building from the Centre, WsM.;

Views of the Old Town Hall Building from the Centre, WsM.;

Archant

PLANS to transform Weston Town Hall are about to take another step forward.

The contract with Willmott Dixon Construction Limited is about to be signed off and planning permission for the main aspects of the scheme has already been granted.

The total refurbishment cost for the Walliscote Grove Road building is estimated at £9.7million.

Nearly £8.4million is set to be spent on construction, with the rest of the money being budgeted for items such as asbestos removal, furniture and moving costs.

The council says a previous feasibility study showed that the building urgently needs investment of an estimated £4million to bring it up to current building standards but without any other tangible benefits.

As part of the plans, Weston Library will relocate to a ‘modern’ facility within the refurbished building, which the council says will give it ‘significantly’ more space than its current building.

The Boulevard register office and Choice Based lettings service, currently in Somerset House, will also move to the Town Hall site.

The upper floors of the Town Hall will be reconfigured to accommodate about 900 council staff, 50 per cent more than currently work in the building and the council says that will ensure it can keep its previous commitment of no net loss of council jobs in Weston town centre.

The decision to sign off the contract is set to be taken shortly by North Somerset Council finance and resource director Phil Hall.

The papers say: “The aim of this project has been to achieve a balance between providing a quality product and ensuring value for money.”

North Somerset Council says that by reducing its office estate from 18 buildings to two main hubs - the Town Hall in Weston and the Castlewood building in Clevedon - and using these buildings more effectively, it will achieve savings of £700,000 a year within three years.

But it has come up against opposition from campaigners who do not want to see the library in the Boulevard moved into the Town Hall.

The council says additional income will be generated by the sale of unused council buildings and sharing Castlewood with key partners.

A cap of £8.9million has been put on the contract for the construction elements of the project.

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