WARWICK District Council’s plans for new headquarters on the site of Leamingon’s Covent Garden car park have been given the green light.
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.
The existing car park will be demolished to make way for the authority’s HQ, a new 650 space multi-storey car park as well as some 40 flats.
The scheme will be partly funded by the sale of the Riverside House site 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 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.
The district council hope their new HQ, the housing and car park at Covent Garden will be completed by October 2018.