Is Broadland and South Norfolk's possible County Hall switch doomed?

County Hall, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A potential switch to County Hall for Broadland and South Norfolk councils looks to be off the agenda. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The possibility of two Norfolk councils selling off their headquarters to move into County Hall appears to be off the cards.

South Norfolk Council and Broadland district councils have brought in consultants to carry out a review of their accommodation.

Consultants have been tasked with looking at various options for South Norfolk Council's South Norfolk House in Long Stratton and Broadland's Thorpe Lodge headquarters in Thorpe St Andrew - including potentially selling them off for housing.

Consultants Ingleton Wood and surveyors Roche have been asked to look for solutions with space for up to 250 workstations and a large meeting room which could be used as a council chamber by both councils.

Options include moving to a single office at either Thorpe Lodge or South Norfolk House, leasing or buying a new office space, developing a new site, staying put, or sharing office space, with Norfolk County Council's County Hall one possibility which had been under consideration.

South Norfolk House in Long Stratton
Photograph Simon Parker

South Norfolk House in Long Stratton. - Credit: Simon Parker

However, it is understood the county council Conservative group did not welcome such a prospect when it was discussed at a recent meeting - and the possibility has been shelved.

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A county council spokesperson said: "We have explored the idea of locating staff from South Norfolk and Broadland District council at County Hall.

"Our staff are beginning to return to the office and we need to make sure they are able to access the building and provide services to Norfolk residents.

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"We are still testing and fine-tuning our return to the office so our arrangements aren’t finalised, but we cannot guarantee, at this time, that any additional space will be available.”

Broadland District Council's headquarters at Thorpe Lodge in Norwich. Picture: Archant

Broadland District Council's headquarters at Thorpe Lodge in Norwich. Picture: Archant - Credit: EDP © 2000

The county council recently spent almost £2m on a new car park to increase spaces at County Hall.

More staff are due to return to work at County Hall next month, with the bulk having worked at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the number of days some council staff can park there for free is to be slashed, with remote working for many continuing.

Greg Peck, the council's cabinet member for commercial services and asset management, had previously said if remote working continued to be successful, the council would look to sub-let some of County Hall to other organisations.

Greg Peck, Conservative candidate for Reepham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Greg Peck, Norfolk County Council member for asset management - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

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