Innovation and Efficiency

25.04.19

Surrey CC reveals plans to scrap 200 council buildings and relocate its HQ to save £10m a year

Surrey County Council has unveiled plans to scrap around 200 of its buildings and move to a new HQ in a bid to save tens of millions of pounds.

Guildford and Woking have emerged as the frontrunners to host Surrey’s new “civic heart” by 2020 as a report due to go in front of the council’s cabinet next Monday reveals the bold new plans.

Surrey CC’s new asset and place strategy outlines an efficiency drive that plans cut down the number of buildings from 300 to 100, saving the authority up to £10m annually in property running costs within three to five years.

The council’s HQ has been outside the county since 1965 due to boundary changes, but a programme board has been established and work has begun on the proposed relocation.

Council leader Tim Oliver said: “All of these proposals are at the heart of our plans to transform and modernise services as part of our Vision for Surrey in 2030.

“Our aim is to move out of Kingston by the end of 2020 and back among the communities we serve using existing offices and a new small civic building while also equipping staff with the technology that will allow them to work much more flexibly to suit the needs of local people.”

Oliver said the council has listened to worries about council buildings sitting empty, and has devised a plan to reduce the numbers previously used by around 200, whilst also sharing with its partners wherever possible.

The properties that aren’t needed will be looked at carefully in order to see if there’s an opportunity to create much-needed homes and jobs in the county.

The council leader added: “These papers add up to a council with a clear vision of a successful county. However, we can’t secure a better future for Surrey on our own.

“We must continue to build effective partnerships and improve how we work with borough and district councils while also helping communities to look after themselves and others.”

A detailed analysis of the potential sites will take place in July, and an appraisal of the future of the current county hall has already identified a range of options such as developments for homes, a hotel or offices, or maintaining it as a hub for council meetings.

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