Plans for new office move to be submitted

An artist impression of the new Knapping Mount council office
An artist impression of the new Knapping Mount council office
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Plans for a £9million state-of-the-art new council office are likely to be put forward for planning permission after a Cabinet meeting this week.

Councillors were expected to vote in favour of the council taking a major step forward and applying for planning permission on Wednesday November 26.

The new development at Knapping Mount will see the council’s employees moved from five sites across the town, to one purpose built office.

It will also see the end of local government activities at the landmark Cresent Gardens building.

Council bosses maintain the authority will reduce its running costs by operating from fewer sites

Council leader, Coun Richard Cooper (Con, High Harrogate) said: “I think this will be a very positive step. We are here to save the tax payers money if we can and this will save up to £1million a year.

“We can take those savings and we can spend it on council services, rather than council buildings.”

A council report there were 116 responses to public talks held on the design of the building earlier in year which showed support for the proposed Knapping Mount scheme - however 36 per cent of responses were from council employees.

Nearby residents raised concerns about parking issues and security on site. The council now say it will make use of the Harrogate International Centre car park for staff, on non-event days.

Coun Cooper said: “Residents were worried about parking so we have considered that.”

The council’s own planning committee will consider the planning application, however Coun Cooper stressed this doesn’t mean the plans are a shoo-in.

The full council will have the final vote on the plans next summer.

The Lib Dem group’s deputy leader, Coun Helen Flynn (Nidd Valley) has long opposed the plans and yesterday said: “We have always favoured improving where we are at Crescent Gardens and actually retaining only one other site: Springfield House, which we are sure is a practical alternative.”