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Council outlines future office plans

Author: Craig Forsyth Published: 7th December 2023 14:26

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council said: “Changes to the way we work and how we deliver our services mean we have a lot more office space than we need, so it makes real sense for us to review our buildings and it’s what taxpayers would expect us to do.Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council said: “Changes to the way we work and how we deliver our services mean we have a lot more office space than we need, so it makes real sense for us to review our buildings and it’s what taxpayers would expect us to do.

Plans to bring more council teams together into a central office and make further improvements to customer service offerings at localities across West Northants are set to move forward in the year ahead.

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is progressing proposals to relocate the majority of its office workers to its base in One Angel Square (OAS), Northampton.

The Council will also continue to enhance its locality hubs at The Abbey in Daventry and The Forum, Towcester whilst also building on the success of its recent Customer Service drop-in events for residents of Brackley.

The moves follow a thorough review which identified the Council has significantly more office space than it requires, along with a need to change how it uses its buildings to better support residents.

Council staff currently based in the modern part of the Guildhall in Northampton and some teams currently working from The Forum in Towcester will relocate to OAS in stages during 2024 and early 2025 and Northampton’s One Stop Shop will also move from the Guildhall to the lower ground floor of OAS, resulting in a more modern and accessible service for residents.

The Council will retain the older, historic Guildhall and it will continue to house the Coroner’s Office, committee and meeting rooms.

The plans follow the successful relocation of services from Lodge Road, Daventry in the summer, and development of the nearby Abbey Centre into a locality hub including Adults, Children’s and other frontline WNC services joining community and voluntary partners.

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council said: “Changes to the way we work and how we deliver our services mean we have a lot more office space than we need, so it makes real sense for us to review our buildings and it’s what taxpayers would expect us to do.

“Bringing more of our colleagues together into a central Northampton office will enable us to collaborate and innovate to deliver better services for all our residents. As we continue moving towards our commitment to become net zero by 2030, it will also help us reduce our carbon footprint as well as our running and maintenance costs to improve value for money for our residents.

“To align with the changing needs of our community, we are also reshaping how we provide services in localities across West Northants, by working with our partners in places such as locality hubs, warm and welcoming spaces, libraries and with outreach teams. An important part of these proposals is around further developing our locality hubs in Towcester and Daventry and considering additional hub locations for the future.

“Our plans for a modernised and progressive One Stop Shop at One Angel Square will offer better facilities and support for both our residents and our staff and will add further value to our existing offer, which already includes customer drop-in sessions across West Northants.

Once services have relocated from the modern part of the Guildhall during 2024 and 2025, the Council will be looking at disposal options for these surplus offices as it seeks to achieve efficiency savings for taxpayers. The historic part of the Guildhall is not included in these proposals.

Northampton Town Council will continue to operate from the old part of the Guildhall under the current lease arrangements which run until April 2025. WNC will then require the space to accommodate its committees, meetings and other services and will be working with the Town Council to explore suitable alternative locations for the authority when the current lease ends.

Further financial information around the future office proposals will be presented to Cabinet members at their meeting in January.

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Comments

Ian McCord
At 12:13 on 8th December 2023, Ian McCord commented:
The greatest danger for the West Northants Council was to be seen as Northampton centric and focus itself and operations in Northampton.

This council cares not for the needs of the rural communities and does everything in the interests of Northampton. I raised this at the full council meeting last week again, the Towcester Relief Road was not mentioned ever, in the report from the portfolio holder for Transport, the Northampton North West Relief Road was referred to.

This decision is another step along the road of creating the Greater Northampton Council.

Ian McCord

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