Building new offices is council’s preferred option
Constructing a new building to replace Cardiff council’s current headquarters is the local authority’s preferred solution to it’s current office problem.
Council cabinet members yesterday gave the go-ahead for a full business case to be developed on the future use of its offices.
In a report presented to cabinet members, the council revealed that its preferred option would be to rebuild its headquarters as a smaller building in Atlantic Wharf.
An outline business case for the council’s office strategy also considers the future of the authority’s other buildings, like City Hall, which could require millions of pounds of investment for upkeep.
No final decision has been made yet, but with high building maintenance bills and other cost pressures on the authority continuing to spiral, councillors were in agreement that doing nothing was no longer an option.
Cardiff council’s cabinet member for investment and development, Cllr Russell Goodway, said: “County Hall, our other core office building, is too big for what the council now needs, so to keep that level of accommodation would be unsustainable, especially at a time when budgets are extremely tight.
“Not only that, if we were to continue with County Hall as it is, tens of millions of pounds would need to be spent on maintenance, and to bring it up to a standard to meet future legislation and carbon commitments and given its form of construction the long-term life span of the building would be limited.
“There is not much Grade A office stock available in Cardiff, and the office space that is available would require significant spending to bring it up to standard, on top of the multi-million-pound purchase price.
“Partial demolition or the potential to rent out the surplus office space of County Hall were both considered as part of the review, but the costs associated with any retention far outweighs building new.”
Following the move to hybrid working, Cardiff council requires 140,000 square feet of core office space according to the outline business case presented to councillors.
The existing County Hall has 277,000 square feet of office space.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 22, group leader of the Conservatives at Cardiff council, Cllr Adrian Robson, said: “I agree that doing nothing is not an option at this stage.”
“When you walk around this building… you can see where the repairs need doing.
“I welcome that something is going to start moving on this. It is overdue.”
A council report from 2021 also projected that remaining in City Hall and County Hall in their current format was about £140m. With added cost pressures and inflation, that figure would be about £180m.
Willcox House is another building used by the council. The report presented to cabinet members on Thursday confirmed the current phasing out of the building.
The council’s lease for the building is coming to an end in March 2024.
by BBC LDRS reporter
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