Two councils paid £7.1m to buy a former Aviva office to turn into their new headquarters, it has been revealed.

Broadland and South Norfolk councils agreed to buy the Horizon building at Broadland Business Park in May.

The deal was completed last month but the price tag for the building, which Aviva staff moved out of in 2021, had been kept secret throughout the process.

Councillors at both authorities had questioned the need for the switch and whether the figures for the purchase stacked up.

But Trevor Holden, managing director for the two councils, has now confirmed it cost £7.1m - which he said was below the £9.5m the building had originally been marketed for.

Eastern Daily Press: Inside the Horizon Business Centre.Inside the Horizon Business Centre. (Image: Brittany Woodman/ Archant)

Mr Holden said the building will mean an 84pc reduction in energy costs compared to the current council offices in Thorpe St Andrew and Long Stratton. He said that would save £600,000 a year on running costs.

He said: "Even when we have done all the the things we want to do with this project, we will have a return on our investment within four and a half years.

"We are going to shoot up the league of environmentally friendly councils to the top of the list, because there are 2,500 solar panels on the Horizon centre and we intend to stay at the vanguard by building further on that.

"We win on cost, we win on the environment and we win on getting the team together."

Eastern Daily Press: Broadland and South Norfolk councils paid ?7.1m for the Horizon buildingBroadland and South Norfolk councils paid ?7.1m for the Horizon building (Image: Brittany Woodman/ Archant)

Mr Holden said, while agile working has changed how people work, there was still a need for staff to meet up to collaborate.

He said the set-up at the Horizon building would be designed to encourage that.

Mr Holden said Broadland's offices in Thorpe St Andrew and South Norfolk's in Long Stratton are up for sale for £3.95m and £2m respectively.

Next month, South Norfolk's Long Stratton offices will close for the final time, with staff temporarily based at Broadland's Thorpe Lodge offices before the move to the Horizon building next year.

The council is opening a satellite office at the Octagon Building, in Diss, so people can have face-to-face meetings.

That will open on October 17, staffed Monday to Friday.