£15m HQ may not open on time
MID Beds District Council s new £15 million headquarters in Chicksands will not be open on time. Around 290 council staff will not now move in until early August, over a month later than planned. Three problems are holding up completion of the project, th
MID Beds District Council's new £15 million headquarters in Chicksands will not be open on time.
Around 290 council staff will not now move in until early August, over a month later than planned.
Three problems are holding up completion of the project, the major one being the late delivery of the hardwearing stone flooring for the council chamber, atrium and reception area.
There has also been a delay in connecting the mains electricity supply to the building.
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Away from the site another major headache has been the late start to work on the nearby roundabout on the A507 because, say the council, of prolonged negotiations between structural engineers and the county council which is the highways authority.
The district council will not be involved directly in the issues and says it is disappointed by the delay, but it will not add any extra cost to the project, nor will it stop it continuing to provide services to local people.
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Ken Matthews, deputy leader of the district council, said: "Whilst we are disappointed that we are not moving on the anticipated date, we should get this in perspective given the recent history of other projects such as the Scottish Parliament and Wembley Stadium, a delay of a little over a month is relatively inconsequential.
"It will not cost us more, nor will it affect our services. Our new customer services arrangements mean that people will not be aware if responses to emails, phone calls or letters are coming from Biggleswade, Chicksands or Ampthill."
The total cost for the new offices is just over £15 million which includes land purchase, constructing and equipping the offices and building the new roundabout.
But the real cost of the project is reduced to £2.627 million because of income from the sale of the council's current offices in Ampthill of £4.6 million and the continuing cost of repairs and maintenance for the existing buildings of £7.807 million if the council did not move.
The council maintains that because most of the money comes from land sale or cutting out necessary repairs it could not be used for any purpose other than providing a new home for the council.
The council has always said that if it were not moving to Chicksands it would have been under more pressure to put council tax up.