More than £2.4m to be spent on new depot and kit for council workers
- Credit: Brett Nunn
More than £1.1m is to be spent to create a new depot for when the workers who take care of Norwich’s streets and parks transfer back to city council control.
And just under £1.3m more will be spent for tools, equipment and IT to allow the 200 workers who will be transferring from Norse to the new city council-controlled company to do their job.
In 2018, Norwich City Council wrote to Norse saying that it wanted to bring four contracts it outsourced to the Norfolk County Council owned company back in-house.Those contracts, worth £20m, include ones for the repair and maintenance of council homes, of other council properties, for surveying services and an environmental services one for keeping streets and parks clean.
The £6.75m environmental services one is due to be the first to return to city council control from next year, so the council needs a new depot for the workers to be based from - and tools for them to do their jobs.
The council is on the brink of agreeing a lease on a depot, although they have not revealed the location - with £1.14m needed to cover the costs of the depot and £1.27m for tools and equipment.
City Hall will borrow that money, with the £1.14m for the depot loaned to the company and repaid with 3pc to the council over 20 years.
Alan Waters, Labour leader of the city council, said: “It has been the decision of the local authority to bring in house on a phased basis the joint ventures with Norse. The first of those will be in spring 2021 and will be environmental services.” He said the money needed to be spent to create the necessary infrastructure for that, including the depot.
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Green councillor Paul Neale, said he feared the council was working to an “overly ambitious timescale” to have that depot and equipment ready, that the lead-in time was too short and local people should have been consulted over what they want from the service
But James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said he was satisfied that the move was value for money for the council and a “positive step change”.
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And Mr Waters said the council was “moving at speed, but not with haste” and the council would be able to design services to reflect the wishes of local communities and councillors.