WARWICK District Council looks set for a new headquarters on the site of Leamingon’s Covent Garden car park.
Council chiefs have long been looking to relocate from their current aging premises at Riverside House on Milverton Hill in a bid to save money.
They say the building, which costs around £600,000 per year to run, is too big and has reached the end of its shelf life with some £1million in repair bills looming.
Back in September, councillors voted in favour of the earmarked site between Tavistock Street and Russell Street as a new HQ – having considered various other options including Leamington Town Hall, Chandos Street car park, and a site in front of the Spa Centre.
They claim the town centre car park, which is already owned and operated by the council, is suffering from major structural problems and would require around £3million being spent on it to stay open.
Under the proposals, the existing car park would be demolished to make way for the authority’s HQ, a new 650 space multi-storey car park as well as around 40 flats.
The scheme would be partly funded by the sale of the Riverside House site, which is likely to become a residential development of 100 homes and apartments, together with the Covent Garden flats.
And the new offices, which are expected to cost somewhere in the region of £8.6million, will be completely paid for by the new housing development while the council will be funding the new £9.75million car park.
Council chiefs claim the planned new multi-storey car park would include sufficient car parking to enable nearby Chandos Street car park to be closed and offered as a possible site for redevelopment at a later date.
They hope to save around £300,000 annually by moving to the proposed new HQ which they say will be much smaller but more suitable for the 21st century needs of staff. They also claim the scheme will help to regenerate the area.
Council leader Andrew Mobbs told The Observer: “I’m delighted Leamington town centre will receive this major investment.
“The proposed new offices will be more efficient than the current building, which will significantly reduce the council’s running costs.
“In addition, the regeneration work and new car park will ensure Leamington continues to thrive as a destination for both business and leisure.”
Councillors are being asked to agree to the move at a meeting on Wednesday (April 20).
The proposals will then be subject to further approval and scrutiny in the next year once planning permission has been granted.
If the move is then given the go-ahead, work could begin in autumn 2017, with the offices opening in late 2018.