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£14.7million new County Council office block among office buildings under review

Concerns were raised in July over the council’s office spending plans.

Nottinghamshire County Council says it expects to provide an update on its review into £28 million of office investment by November.

The review was confirmed earlier this year and is assessing the authority’s wide-ranging ‘Investing in Nottinghamshire’ scheme, aimed at improving the council’s overall office estate.

Within those plans is a new, flagship £14.7 million office block at the upcoming Top Wighay Farm development, near Linby and Hucknall, as well as upgrades to County Hall and facilities in Mansfield and Worksop.

But concerns were raised in July over the council’s office spending plans, particularly given the authority’s planned move to a hybrid working model.

The new model, reflecting changes to the workforce during the pandemic, will lead to more staff splitting their time between a home and office environment.

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Opposition members fear “money could be wasted” by investing in new office spaces, but the council has insisted its review will plan “25 years into the future”.

Speaking during a policy committee meeting on Thursday, Councillor Keith Girling (Con), chairman of the economic development and asset management (EDAM) committee, said: “We’re doing the review because we understand people might not want to go back to how it was before Covid.

“We’re looking at how we’re doing the hybrid system, I think right now officers are finding out what the responses are to this, and when this is back, we can look at what estate we actually need to function as a council.

“But we have got to look not just for now, but 25 years into the future.

“There’s a finger in the air about it and it’s not going to be precise. But it’s going to be as accurate as we can get it, to make sure the staff who work for this council can function properly, and in appropriate accommodation.”

The ‘Investing in Nottinghamshire’ scheme was unveiled by the previous Conservative administration before the start of the Covid pandemic.

The Top Wighay Farm building, the council said last year, would set a “new benchmark” in environmental sustainability.

It would be supported by a new building erected near the council’s County Hall headquarters, moving staff currently working at Trent Bridge House in West Bridgford.

The plans also feature £3 million improvements to Meadow House in Mansfield and a £2.75 million investment in new office facilities in Bassetlaw.

And now the council says it expects more information, and an update on the review, at November’s EDAM committee.

A council spokesperson said: “Earlier this year, outline planning consent was granted for the [Top Wighay] site.

“We are currently progressing the procurement of a developer for the residential element of the planned new village, and continue to look at proposals for developing a new office building at the site.

“We expect there to be more to update on, in time for the EDAM  committee due on November 2.”

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