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Further £2.1m to revamp more of Norfolk’s County Hall

Norfolk County Council headquarters. County Hall Martineau Lane, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk County Council headquarters. County Hall Martineau Lane, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

A further £2.1m is to be spent revamping the headquarters of Norfolk County Council, after a decision was taken midway through the project to extend the scope of the work.

At a time when the council is making £42m of savings, which will include up to 70 staff losing their jobs, even more of County Hall is being refurbished - with the hope income can be generated by leasing out part of the Martineau Lane building.

The renovation project started in 2013, after blocks of masonry fell from the 1960s building.

The revamp was initially due to cost just over £22m, but the price soared by £10m more because the original repair programme assumed existing insulation, heating and lighting would be replaced with similar systems.

A decision was taken to instead replace them with solar photovoltaic panels and energy efficient LED lighting, funded from money already in the council’s Carbon Energy Reduction Fund.

The council has spent £29.8m against a budget of £33m, with the current programme of work due to be completed in the spring.

But, midway through the scheme it was decided to add areas of County Hall which were not due to be refurbished - the north and south wings. And, in last week’s budget, a further £2.1m was allocated for those sections to be revamped.

A spokeswoman for Norfolk County Council. said: “The north and south wings were excluded from the original programme of work because these areas did not suffer from the significant structural problems identified in the main building.

“The work on the north wing and the remainder of the south wing, now agreed, are separate to the original County Hall programme. The building works will be tendered and a new contract will be put in place with the successful bidder.”

Part of the work is to modernise the upper floors in the north wing for leasing out.

Jonathan Dunning, branch secretary for UNISON at County Hall, questioned whether the final cost of would have made it cheaper to have moved.

But he said: “The benefits to staff have become apparent in terms of allowing more staff to be based in County Hall and I think the majority of staff would agree that it has made things better.”

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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