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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 June 2007, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Councils to leave 'condemned' HQ
Monmouthshire and Torfaen Council's County Hall
Repair work on the building could cost up to 30m
Two local authorities in south Wales are looking for new headquarters because the building they currently share is to be condemned.

Monmouthshire and Torfaen councils are searching for new premises after they were told the building they use at Cwmbran needs 30m of repairs.

Built in 1969, the building was intended for 800 staff, but there are now 1,300 people working there.

Both councils will leave county hall in 2010 to move to new venues.

Monmouthshire Council is considering a move into temporary accommodation within the county to allow the sale of county hall to take place in about four years time.

Condemned

Councillors met at an extraordinary meeting where they were shown presentations about the situation.

Repairs to the building would cost a total of 30m.

Members were told a current maintenance programme in place was strictly "risk management" and that no unnecessary money was being spent on the building, which is due to be condemned.

Following discussions held in September 2005, several possible new sites have been found in Monmouthshire for a new county hall, members heard.

A council spokesman said: "Members agreed that investment in schools and roads must come before office accommodation.

"They also agreed that given uncertainty about the shape and size of local government over the next few years it was unwise to plan a straight replacement to reflect the current capacity of county hall.

"Members wanted a civic presence in Monmouthshire, and asked that consideration be given to using one of more of the current buildings in the county to create this," he added.

Chief executive Colin Berg said the 800 Monmouthshire staff working at county hall would not be leaving their offices until 2010 and it was likely they would move into temporary accommodation within the county while the full needs were assessed for a permanent base.

A spokesman for Torfaen Council said it "took a decision to relocate its staff from County Hall some years ago. "It is well advanced in identifying an alternative site.

"It will be using flexible working practices to reduce so far as possible the amount of desk space required and is open to either a freehold or leasehold solution.

"Council officials are working with their counterparts in Monmouthshire on an agreed, joint exit strategy from County Hall and the council remains willing to consider joint solutions with Monmouthshire."




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