Advice service must move after building is turned into creative hub

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:26 03 October 2017

The Badger Centre.

The Badger Centre.

Archant

The Citizens Advice office in Weston-super-Mare town centre is being forced to move after its building was bought by North Somerset Council to use as a creative hub.

Citizens Advice is considering moving into this empty building in Waterloo Street.Citizens Advice is considering moving into this empty building in Waterloo Street.

Citizens Advice North Somerset has a number of offices around the district, including its busiest one in the Badger Centre, in Wadham Street, where it has been based for 12 years.

North Somerset Council bought the building last year, and has since converted it into a creative hub called The Stable.

Citizens Advice’s lease was due to end in April, but an extension has been agreed with the council to extend the deal by a further 12 months, meaning the CAB has until April 2019 to find a new home.

The charity, which provides free advice to people with money, housing or employment worries, has identified one potential base in Waterloo Street, but it needs financial support as building alterations and a refit are expected to cost around £200,000.

Chief executive Fiona Cope said: “We are in negotiations with the local authority and they are very supportive and we are in the process of agreeing a new lease which will give us a reprieve until April 2019. But that is as far as we can go, and then we will need to move somewhere new.

“We want to create an office space which is fit for the future.”

MORE: Creative hub can help to unlock a ‘vibrant and prosperous’ Weston.

A council spokesman said: “We have been working closely with CAB to support them with their accommodation requirements.

“Prior to the council taking on the lease for the building, their lease was due to expire in April 2018, but we have extended this, subject to tying up final formalities, until April 2019 allowing them time to find alternative premises.

“In the meantime, the new building sharing arrangements are working really well. We have also offered help in suggesting suitable vacant premises, advice on modern office requirements to make best use of space, and have also been working to secure additional funding that can support the relocation.

“We will continue to meet regularly with the CAB as part of our ongoing commitment to the organisation.”

Citizens Advice dealt with 22,816 problems last year, and helped to put £12million into the local economy through writing off debts and solving problems.

To support Citizens Advice, visit www.nscab.org.uk/donate

This story has been amended to include a council comment.

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