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£600,000 upgrade bid for Hazel Court council office
MORE than £600,000 could be spent refurbishing a council building in York.
City leaders will next week be asked to approve plans to make adaptations to City of York Council’s Hazel Court – one of only two offices the authority will have once hundreds of staff move to the new £43.8 million headquarters at West Offices, in Station Rise, next year.
The council will move out of four of its current sites, and a report to its cabinet has listed work which will need doing at Hazel Court, in James Street, to increase office space and allow flexible working.
If approved, the scheme will cost £618,000, funded by the £235,000-a-year savings made by leaving Guildhall, St Anthony’s House and the council’s Acomb Road offices.
The switch from these three sites means space is needed elsewhere for about 200 staff, 47 councillors and other facilities. The moves are set to be completed by the end of next March.
Planned improvements at Hazel Court include removing partitions, moving storage space, improving cafe facilities, showers and toilets and providing internet and phone access so it can act as a “disaster recovery site” for the council and house customer services staff in the event of an emergency.
Coun Julie Gunnell, cabinet member for corporate services, said: “West Offices will support much more efficient and smarter ways of working and we want to replicate this at our second building at Hazel Court for both staff and customers.
“We also need to ensure our capacity to deal with any future emergencies is fully supported at this second site.”
At next week’s meeting, the cabinet is also expected to agree to notify the Department for Transport that the council wants to form a joint Local Transport Body with West Yorkshire councils, which will decide how funding for major transport schemes is spent.
It is proposing that any funding York secures through this body would go towards projects with a mutual benefit to the city and West Yorkshire, and possibly beyond, or to York and its hinterland. This could include improvements to the outer ring road, the Harrogate rail line and access to Leeds Bradford Airport.
Cabinet members will also be asked to instruct officers to produce a Local Plan, a blueprint for the city’s future development, which is earmarked to be in place by 2015. The council abandoned its Local Development Framework core strategy earlier this year, following criticism by a Government inspector.