Plan for new HQ for Waveney District Council in Lowestoft takes a step forward

An ambitious scheme to relocate Waveney District Council's headquarters from Lowestoft town hall to the town's waterfront has passed its first hurdle.

Last night, Waveney's cabinet approved setting up a detailed business case for the plan to build a new shared headquarters with Suffolk County Council on the site of the controversial Waveney Campus, which was abandoned two and half years ago.

Both Waveney and the county council have set aside �5m each to provide accommodation for their staff in the town.

If finally given the green light, it is hoped the Lowestoft Riverside Road Office Accommodation Project could be completed by 2013 at a predicted cost of up to �8.9m.

Leaders at Waveney say the new office space for staff is needed as its present home at the town hall in the High Street is not fit for purpose and would need too much money to bring it up to 21st century standards.

If approved, only back office staff would move to the new site while front line staff would re-locate to the district council's customer services building at the Marina Centre in the town centre.

Last night Waveney's cabinet agreed two recommendations – to approve the creation of a detailed business case in partnership with the county council and to give delegated authority to senior officers to complete the business case, which will be examined by the overview and scrutiny committee and cabinet in September.

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Colin Law, council leader, said: 'We need to move into a 21st century building that is fit for purpose.

'This building (the town hall) unfortunately requires further investment, significant investment, to make it fit for purpose.'

Mr Law said he would naturally look at keeping the 'fabric' of the town hall for the town.

Waveney owns the land for the project as it compulsorily purchased it for the Waveney Campus.

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