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New council offices in Colwyn Bay criticised over £58m cost

Published date: 15 June 2017 |
Published by: James Wilde 
Read more articles by James Wilde  Email reporter


 

Taxpayers will foot a £58 million bill for new council offices in Colwyn Bay.

According to a Freedom of Information request to Conwy County Borough Council (CCBC) obtained by Aberconwy AM Janet Finch-Saunders, the sum is attributed to a “financial agreement” with M&G, who are constructing the building.

It reads: “The total cost to the council as a consequence of its financial agreement with M&G is in the order of £58 million; other occupation costs (rates, utilities etc) are in addition.”

Mrs Finch-Saunders slammed the cost and called for greater scrutiny of public spending by the local authority.

She said: “With council services cut across Conwy, and the tightening of belts over a number of years, it is outrageous that the council should be committing to financial agreements of this magnitude.

“The total cost to the council is £23m higher than the construction cost, even before other occupation rates are factored in.”

A spokesman for CCBC said: “When we were informed that we needed to vacate rented offices at Dinerth Road in Rhos-on-Sea, finding a solution to our office accommodation issues became more pressing – doing nothing was not an option”

The spokesman revealed that the authority will rent the offices on a 40-year lease, with the option to buy the building for £1 at the end.

“The offices will be let to the council at a rental of £14.85 per square foot,” the spokesman said.

“As a comparison, rents on the most modern offices in town are from £10 to £12 per square foot for a shell.

“Whilst the option of not modernising and not developing a new office building was considered, the business case for the new offices was considered affordable and it contributed to the council’s wider modernisation programme to improve facilities for the public and for the staff providing those services.”

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