Council delivers plans to rationalise and modernise offices
5 April 2022Cheshire West and Chester Council is delivering on its plans to save millions of pounds, by rationalising and modernising its office accommodation across the borough.
As part of a plan to lessen the organisation’s overall running costs, reduce energy and carbon footprint, new and refurbished office hubs are about to open at three sites across the borough.
The Portal in Ellesmere Port, the Council’s new public service hub and operational headquarters, is now complete, with Council staff and partner organisations moving in and beginning to deliver services to the public from next month. The building is very much for use by the public, with a range of support services on offer in one place for residents of the borough.
Existing Council offices at Wyvern House in Winsford and the Council’s smaller remaining office within HQ, Chester, have also been adapted and refurbished. The Council is in the final stages of withdrawing from Civic Way in Ellesmere Port, Goldsmith House in Chester, the Tarvin Centre, and all but the third and ground floor of HQ Chester. The Council has also reduced its use of Nicholas House in Chester, with a small part of the building retained as a base for the Cheshire Pension Fund.
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council said,
“Overall, savings of around £5.9 million over the next 10 years are expected as a result of this investment to set up these three key hubs to enable and support new flexible working environments for our staff.
"As well as saving money, the focus is on improving the standard of our buildings, investing in technology and improving office culture by adopting a flexible approach.
“We are encouraging flexible, agile, and home-working. Fewer Council colleagues will now work in an office on a daily basis, allowing us to make savings on space and resources. However, only working from home can put a strain on people’s mental health and wellbeing, and reduce opportunities for productive engagement with residents, colleagues, councillors and partners. So, our new office spaces will be informal, bright and welcoming places which encourage collaboration and innovation. They’ll provide new technology and collaborative spaces to work together and with partners, which will lead to better outcomes for our residents.”
The vacated buildings will now form part of regeneration programmes for Chester and Ellesmere Port.
Another major driver in delivering the programme is the Council’s commitment to the environment.
The impact on buildings emissions has also already been very positive, with a 10,000,000 kilowatt hour (kWh) reduction in energy use within Council buildings - enough to power 2,500 homes for a year.