Council re-thinks its options for Civic Centre alternative

Barnstaple Civic Centre

Posted on: 8 July 2015

Plans to move Devon County Council staff from Barnstaple Civic Centre into the town’s library have been dropped.

Instead the Council is pursuing new plans to convert the Civic Centre Annexe into a modern open plan office.

Escalating costs, projected to be around £4 million, to redevelop the library, plus lengthy time delays, prompted the council to look again at alternative premises in the town.

A feasibility study into the Civic Centre Annexe has confirmed that the new accommodation, possible for less than £3 million, can be delivered sooner and with less disruption to staff and the public than developing the library.

It means that there will be no changes to the current library space or occupation by the North Devon Athenaeum.

A decision remains on the long term plans for the town’s Records Office, which is situated in the library.  The Council still needs to save money due to cuts in Government funding and intends to talk to all the key stakeholders in coming weeks about how it will make the savings needed.

Councillor John Clatworthy, the County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for council property, said:

“It would be wrong to rush head-long into a project at the library when we can spend £1 million less moving to alternative accommodation which is also suitable.  It’s prudent that we looked at the options, and I’m pleased that a better solution has been found.”

2 comments on “Council re-thinks its options for Civic Centre alternative

  1. Robert Kelso says:

    A welcome development and one which i hope will prompt further consideration of keeping the North Devon Records office here in barnstaple.

  2. Will Austin says:

    Good news that community facilities at the Library won’t be displaced by County Council offices. A cautious welcome too to the news that DCC will talk to local stakeholders about the future of North Devon Records Office – something Barnstaple Town Council asked for, and we think there are alternatives to closure that are worth exploring. Your press release did prompt me to wonder whether some of the £1m saving from the change of plan might usefully contribute to keeping North Devon’s historic records here in North Devon? Just a thought.

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