A COUNCIL is to spend almost £3million in renovations to help accommodate an influx of workers that are currently housed in its Clevedon offices.

Earlier this year North Somerset Council voted to sell its former headquarters at Castlewood after it was revealed the office space was 'surplus to requirements' and would cost £1.1million a year to keep open.

In the plans, Weston Town Hall, in Walliscote Road, will be remodelled to lodge an extra 500 workers. 

The project will see new office space created with necessary work equipment and amenities. 

At a meeting to be held this week on Thursday (November 10), the council will discuss the £2million construction proposals and £993,300 on procurement and additional works such as toilets, lighting and a multifaith room. 

The scheme hopes to permanently transfer staff, tenants, partners and assets from Castlewood all under one location. 

This comes after plans were set in motion to facilitate cuts so the local authority can plug a budget deficit hole of £17million.

Castlewood was purchased in 2010 at a cost of £12.6 million.

The council says the works are necessary as it reduces staff travel and helps to offer agile working patterns which will ease concentration of finite office space. 

A contractor should be employed by the new year with the works going out to tender later this month.

Remodelling should then begin in April next year and the first set of Castlewood staff occupying space at Town Hall by July. 

New Town Hall will see the upper floors adjusted but around 300 council workers will be unable to use the site and so these will be accommodated at alternative venues.  

The move from Castlewood will release savings of up to £1million a year from 2025, 'more if energy costs remain high', executive member for corporate services Cllr Ash Cartman, said.

Weston Mercury: Ashley Cartman, Long Ashton ward councillor. Ashley Cartman, Long Ashton ward councillor. (Image: NSC)

"The decision to leave Castlewood has been made and this week we will be scrutinising the wider accommodation strategy, including that any work we do to the Town Hall is appropriate."

He added: "I don’t think it’s fair to ask local taxpayers to foot the bill for office space the council can do without.

"The money we’ll save will go on essential services and help keep our council tax one of the lowest in the region.

"Although the council has decided to leave Castlewood, no decision has been made as to what to do with the site. We are currently exploring options and consulting. A formal decision is expected early in the new year."

To help make the move as carbon-neutral as possible, the local authority says it will ensure surplus furniture, equipment and fittings are re-purposed or recycled.