Council HQ relocation to Castle Quay confirmed
An extra £4.5m is being set aside to cover costs with money from the sale of the existing site also being used
Cherwell District Council’s proposed move out of its Bodicote House offices and into Castle Quay in Banbury has taken a step closer.
Last night members of the Council’s Executive Committee agreed to push forward with the move following the completion of feasibility work.
An extra £4.5m is being set aside to cover the costs of the relocation project.
A report to Councillors said that substantial work was needed at Bodicote House, should the council decide to remain there. The business case also highlighted the large amount of vacant space within Castle Quay centre, which the council owns.
It said: “Banbury town centre has, along with the rest of the country, suffered a realignment of its retail offer due to online shopping. As a result, a significant amount of space has become available within Castle Quay. Consideration has therefore been given to relocating the Council’s administrative headquarters into some of the vacant space as part of a wider regeneration project.
“This Business Case has been developed along with the report recommending the sale of the Bodicote House site as monies from the sale will be required to fund the works to create the proposed new facilities at Castle Quay.”
The Council says that the move would create a smaller, more modern and energy-efficient space and support its wider ambition to regenerate the town centre and increase footfall to local businesses.
The Bodicote House site covers 8.2 acres and includes three main buildings, mature gardens, landscaping and car parking. The three-storey office block and Council Chamber was purpose built in 1970s. It sits alongside Old Bodicote House, which is a Grade II Listed building with stables and outbuildings. A two-bedroom Lodge gatehouse is located just off White Post Road.
A report on the potential sale alludes to property agents Knight Frank having been first appointed to produce a marketing recommendation report in October 2020. This was updated in May this year, after which they were engaged to market the property for sale. It is expected to be vacant by March 2025.
Discussions by councillors in relation to both the move and sale were held in private with the public and press excluded from the meeting.
Following the decision Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of the Council, said: “As a modern and forward thinking authority, it is only right that we ensure we occupy office space that is proportionate to our needs, and which correctly supports the key public services we are providing to our residents.
“Detailed feasibility work has now been completed, so this significant move is supported by a full business case. The report we considered on Monday details the significant benefits this move will offer to our residents and to the council itself.
“This move would save the taxpayer money on annual running and maintenance costs, support our sustainability pledge, and make us more accessible to our residents. We also believe the move supports our wider aspirations for the regeneration of Banbury town centre.”
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam