Letter: Council offices - Setting out the savings

Council Offices.
Council Offices.

I refer to the two letters regarding the council’s new offices in last week’s Advertiser. While I don’t want to get into a tit-for-tat letter exercise, statements were made and questions asked that need a response.

Mr Bradwell asked to see where the annual £1m of savings are to be made from moving five council buildings in to one.

The savings have been outlined specifically and indeed a summary of these was presented at the council meeting Mr Bradwell’s wife addressed.

To summarise, we are saving £269,000 in staffing costs, £252,000 in running costs, £105,000 in facilities management cost, £225,000 in IT costs, £200,000 in ongoing maintenance costs of old buildings, £85,000 in travelling time and other travel and time-related expenses caused by staff being over five sites and £14,000 on equipment. I am happy to provide fuller information on each item to anyone who wants it but space does not permit here.

All these figures and the justification for each of them are, and have been, in the public domain for a long time.

In a separate letter, Mr Butterfield said that I was ‘probably correct’ in referring to the new build cost of £9m.

He then said the final account would ‘undoubtedly substantially exceed the £9m in question’.

The build contract is fixed cost and therefore cannot inflate. Also the building – now some way in to the construction phase – is on time and on budget.

Mr Butterfield is absolutely correct that the new office won’t house all the council’s staff.

Those staff maintaining the award-winning parks and gardens will be doing their job in the parks and gardens.

The refuse collectors and recyclers will be out collecting our waste and taking it to our depot to be bulked.

The staff who run the conference centre and bring over £65m of income to our borough every year will be based at the conference centre.

The staff who run your swimming pools and gyms will be based at those premises.

The Turkish Baths staff will continue to be based at the Turkish Baths.

What we are doing is combining all the staff from five of the council’s buildings into one rather than moving every single member of staff into the same building.

Coun Richard Cooper

Leader of Harrogate

Borough Council