Topping-out ceremony date set as Lowestoft shared office bid stays on track

the plans for the shared office block in Lowestoft

the plans for the shared office block in Lowestoft - Credit: Archant

A controversial scheme to create a shared office block for council staff in Lowestoft is on track to be completed on time, a report has said.

The £13.6m Lowestoft shared accommodation project at Riverside Road will see employees from Waveney District and Suffolk County councils relocate there from their current buildings in the town, including Lowestoft Town Hall.

On Wednesday, an update on the project was given to a meeting of the joint Lowestoft shared accommodation committee.

The report said the shared office block was due to be completed by March 23 next year and it would be occupied by staff eight days later.

It stated: 'The main contractor contractor's activities on the Riverside Road site continue to great effect. The steel frame is now erected and the pre-cast concrete planks installed. The programme has progressed according to approved timelines, budget and delegated authorities.

'A topping-out ceremony has been planned for September 10. This will give the joint committee an occasion to recognise the progress to date and also provide an opportunity to gain some external publicity.'

Committee members also heard that so far £2.5m had been spent on building the office block and that a new shared public access point in the Marina customer service centre was due to be completed by November 30, 2015. Both councils have equally funded the £13.6m scheme and said it was needed as current council offices were not fit for purpose to support 21st century public services.

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It is said the shared accommodation will save taxpayers £3m over 10 years in maintenance costs and will boost the regeneration of the Kirkley waterfront area.

Colin Law, leader of Waveney, has pledged that residents will have a say on the future of the town hall, which is a grade II listed building and dates back to 1857.

The shared scheme has drawn criticism from Frank Joyce of Lowestoft Coalition Against The Cuts.

He claimed that the efficiency benefits were unclear, the town centre would be hit as staff moved away from area and there were more pressing priorities Waveney should be concentrating on.

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