What now for Barnstaple’s civic centre?
PUBLISHED: 13:21 07 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:21 07 May 2014
Devon County Council also look to quit the building and move staff to other sites in the town.
THERE is more uncertainty over the future of Barnstaple’s Civic Centre this week following news that Devon County Council is also looking to vacate the building.
The Gazette understands the county is looking to relocate approximately 185 members of staff to other council buildings in the town, including the library.
No decisions have been made, but a feasibility study is likely to take place as part of a wider review of local county-owned buildings.
A spokesman said: “While a possible move by the county council from the Civic Centre is being considered, no decision has yet been made and discussions need to take place with other occupiers in the building.
“Relocating to the library is an option that we are exploring along with a review of our other buildings in Barnstaple.”
North Devon Council has already signalled its intention to cut ties with the building by the end of the next financial year.
Yesterday (Tuesday), the council’s executive committee met to approve plans to exit the building it has occupied since 1974.
Staff are set to be relocated to other district-owned buildings, including the Brysnworthy Environment Centre, Lynton House and the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.
The move would save the council around £300,000 a year – as well as significant maintenance work expected to cost the district in excess of £1million.
North Devon and Devon County Councillor Brian Greenslade said a move from the Civic Centre would save the county some £200,000 and also avoid a large refurbishment.
“The future of the building unclear,” he said.
“It owned by DCC, but I think it’s unlikely it will be demolished. I think it’s hoped that a developer may take it and do something else with it – a hotel or riverside apartments?
“These relocations are being made possible as both councils are downsizing and making greater use of technology and therefore don’t need as much space.
“This all started life from a conversation DCC Leader John Hart and I had in Barnstaple last August and is progressing quite quickly,” added Mr Greenslade.