Council considers adding two-storey £130k extension to its Grove Park base
PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 October 2017
Weston Town Council is considering whether to spend £130,000 on an extension to its base in Grove Park, despite uncertainty over how much the council may or may not expand in the future.
The town council rents two buildings in Grove Park, both owned by North Somerset Council. It meets in Grove House, but also has offices in Grove Lodge.
The council decided to look into how feasible it would be to extend Grove House so its staff could work in one building and save the £5,000 a year it pays to rent Grove Lodge.
The authority had initially considered a £30,000 extension, and set aside money in its budget to cover it. However it is now weighing up the possibility of creating a £130,000 two-storey extension instead.
Although the council’s policy and finance committee did not agree to definitely go ahead with the plans, it has agreed to talk to North Somerset about the proposal and continue to work out the costs.
Cllr Peter Crew said: “It does make a lot of sense to make allowances for how we might grow further or need more staff.
“We have to prepare for what might happen.”
The two-storey extension would provide seven additional work stations, and a private office space. There would also be a toilet and a reception desk.
But Cllr Robert Payne said: “It is a terrible idea. Public services are being cut by huge amounts and the council decides to spend money on its own accommodation.”
Council papers show the council’s clerk has warned members about possible further budget pressures in the future.
Its precept for Weston residents has risen by a little more than 14 per cent in the past two years.
Cllr Mark Canniford said: “The reality is we don’t know where we are going to be in the future.
“Most councils are shrinking, and we are assuming we are going to continue to grow. We might not.”
The council could go ahead with the plans by taking out a loan which it believes could be repaid over a 10-year period.
It expects the funds would eventually be recovered through energy cost savings.
Other suggestions include turning the existing garage into office space or seeing if it is possible to use the Town Hall.