I READ with amusement and a little annoyance Stephen Lewis's article on the need for new council offices to serve our city (November 18).

After his tour of the small dim rooms with windows that look out on to a stone wall, twisting staircases and no lifts, I shuddered at the Dickensian portrait.

Of course, it's time the offices were moved. It's a pity the move was not achieved some time ago when the cost could have been much less.

One opportunity was made available when Queen Anne School had to be sold. At a meeting of residents the suggestion was put that the school offered an ideal site for the new offices City of York Council had wanted for so long. Sadly the chairing councillor did not attempt to reply to the suggestion while the officer in charge brushed the idea aside.

Had the council taken the step to move then, the city would have had its new council offices at much less cost, with much less hassle and the immediate use of the school would have saved us the leasing costs for other offices of some £860,000 a year. The site itself would be convenient for visits from the public and those dingy corridors and tiny rooms with blocked-in views would have been transformed into a much more pleasing working environment much earlier.

I would question what guidance was given to councillors when the matter was discussed. It seems the council missed out on an opportunity and made a costly mistake.

Mr L Marsh,

Grosvenor Court,

Water Lane, York.

Updated: 10:42 Friday, November 25, 2005