County Council relocation moves forward


Both Oxfordshire County and Cherwell District councils want to move to new offices

Plans for Oxfordshire County Council to move from its headquarters at County Hall in Oxford to Speedwell House a few streets away are moving forward.  

The council already owns Speedwell House, but work will need to be undertaken to refurbish it and make the building net zero.

The cost of the work to update Speedwell House will come from the sale or lease of the council’s main current home County Hall.

The move has been evaluated independently and considered by a cross-party cabinet advisory group.   The Council says the reimagined Speedwell House campus would offer exciting opportunities to deliver regeneration in Oxford.

A report to the Council’s Cabinet notes that significant investment would be required if the authority remained in County Hall. 

The future of the old part of the building, which includes the council chamber and coroner’s court, would be decided following engagement with the market.

Council Leader, Councillor Liz Leffman, said: “The paper to be presented [to Cabinet] makes the case that … a move would present value for money for the taxpayer as well as keeping to our principle of putting climate change at the heart of everything we do. This would be in line with our overall property strategy, which focuses on continuing our ongoing rationalisation of the buildings we use. This has already seen us reduce the number of buildings we occupy.

“While the property market as a whole is not currently in its most buoyant phase, the city centre of Oxford has largely been unaffected by these wider trends. As such, the strategy suggests we take advantage of this on behalf of the taxpayer.

“It is said that creating carbon-neutral offices would align very effectively with the council’s overall climate change strategy and a modern new headquarters would help with our aim of becoming an employer of choice in what is a very competitive jobs market. We would ensure that the new building is designed to reflect modern ways of flexible working.”

In North Oxfordshire Cherwell District Council has already begun a project to relocate from its current home at Bodicote House to within new offices at Castle Quay in Banbury Town Centre.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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