Construction deadline for new council headquarters missed

The Knapping Mount office on Wednesday (June, 21)
The Knapping Mount office on Wednesday (June, 21)

Harrogate Borough Council’s target for completing the construction of its flagship new headquarters has been missed.

Speaking to the Advertiser three weeks ago, the council said it had expected building work to be finished at its new £9 million headquarters on Knapping Mount for Wednesday June 21.

Yesterday Cabinet Member for Resources, Enterprise, Economic Development, Coun Graham Swift confirmed building work remained incomplete.

However Coun Swift insisted deadlines set for the council’s office move would remain on schedule.

Coun Swift said: “Work is progressing well, nothing is causing me sleepless nights over this. We are working towards the fitting of IT equipment, infrastructure and the office move.

“The project continues to be ongoing and will be on budget.

“There is nothing in my mind that is serious that would change the dates we have provided before.

“I cannot give you a specific date until my next set of meetings.”

He added: “All that I can say is that it is not completed.”

When construction of the building is completed the council said there would be a ‘buffer period,’ allowing for the installation of IT and other work equipment.

Coun Swift said at the end of the summer holidays, the council would begin the move, with staff moving across from the current headquarters at Crescent Gardens.

The Crescent Garden offices will be transformed into apartments, shops, an art gallery and a restaurant by the Adam Thorpe Property Group PLC.

Those opposed to the plans for a move into a new office pointed to concerns that had previously been raised over the location of the site.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Harrogate Council, Coun Pat Marsh (Hookstone, Lib Dem) said: “My group did not want this new building, we wanted to refurbish the existing one to maintain a civic heart for Harrogate.

She added: “I am not surprised at this news, Knapping Mount was initially dismissed because it was considered a difficult site . It was also originally allocated for affordable housing. Not only did we lose a valuable site we lost the opportunity for housing in the centre of Harrogate.