Saturday 2 March 2024
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Fire repairs at County Hall offices should complete by summer 2023

Part of County Hall badly damaged by a fire in July is not expected to be operational again until next summer.

Firefighters evacuated the headquarters of Nottinghamshire County Council on July 28 after faulty electrics sparked and caused flames to burn through the ceiling void of a first-floor office.

Councillor Neil Clarke (Con), the cabinet member for transport and environment, later confirmed it was his office where the blaze started before spreading into rooms used by some Tory colleagues.

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He revealed personal and work items were destroyed in the fire while other rooms in the corridor were also impacted by smoke damage.

It led to the West Bridgford building being closed off to all staff for several weeks while investigations and repairs took place.

A phased return during August and September led to parts of the building reopening, including the council chamber at the start of September.

However, scaffolding is in place at the back of the building and repairs to the Conservative Group’s corridor continue almost five months after the fire.

In September, the Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed the wider works were forecast to cost £2.4m.

This included a £1.75m buildings insurance claim, £500,000 in contents insurance and £150,000 in business interruption insurance.

Now Cllr Ben Bradley MP (Con), the authority’s leader, has revealed the repairs are not expected to be complete for several more months and confirmed there will be no improvements to the corridor.

He says the repairs will return the corridor to “basic functionality” and stressed taxpayers are not paying a penny of the bill.

Cllr Bradley said: “We should have a window that’s not blown out very shortly.

“It’s important to say upfront that the cost of the refit is covered by insurance, it’s not taxpayer-funded.

“We managed to get the main part of the building reopened fairly quickly, which meant a minimal impact on services.

“But the offices probably won’t be ready until the summer. We deliberately left our bit of it as the last priority and we’re displaced at the minute.

“We’ve asked the contractors to put it back to basic functionality and we’re not investing in anything fancy.

“We’re using existing furniture and things we already own and we’re just getting it back open for use in due course.”

His comments come during an ongoing review into the future of County Hall and other council-owned buildings across Nottinghamshire.

The council has already reduced its property portfolio from 17 to nine buildings, saving more than £1m, and is discussing the future of other sites.