Landmark multi-million pound Harrogate council offices up for sale

Tis Harrogate Council Offices on Crescent Gardens.(1401045c)
Tis Harrogate Council Offices on Crescent Gardens.(1401045c)
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Estate agents say there has been a lot of interest in Harrogate Borough Council’s landmark Crescent Gardens buildings.

The building is being marketed by Lambert Smith Hampton and the deadline for expressions of interest is next week (January 21).

Georgia Pirbhai from Lambert Smith Hampton said: “The interest has been good, we are still doing viewings. It has been mainly residential interest with some hotel interest.

“With price we are really struggling to pin point it, something like £2million to £5million. It is an impressive building in a very impressive area, we will wait and see.”

A preferred bidder for the site will be chosen in May, and the council will have final say on the buyer.

Marketing material describes Crescent Gardens as an ‘iconic landmark building’ suggesting that it would be suitable for offices, hotel and leisure use, a care home or residential.

Harrogate Borough Council’s town centre masterplan suggests a spa hotel would be good use for the site, see pages eight and nine for a full report.

The idea of selling off Crescent Gardens and building a new state-of-the-art £9million office building at Knapping mount has been controversial since it was first mooted in 2013.

Henry Pankhurst, chairman of the Harrogate Civic Society said: “There isn’t much more to say, we have always wanted the council to stay there.

“It is a beautiful building, the chamber, the Mayor’s Chambers, the entrance hall. There are so many little bits of history in the building, there are tiles remaining from when it was the baths and even a bunker from the Cold War.”

Council leader, Coun Richard Cooper (Con, High Harrogate) said: “The external appearance of the building will not change, and it can’t be demolished, planning regulations have been put in place to ensure that.”

A council spokesman said: “A final decision on the council’s future accommodation will not be made by full council until summer 2015.

“Should council vote in favour of building a new council headquarters, the sale of Crescent Gardens would be used to help fund the construction work, so it is imperative that we ascertain the current commercial value of the property.

“This exercise will help us to understand the level of interest in purchasing the building and what value these interested parties place on it should the opportunity arise to purchase.”