Leeds council chiefs will be discussing plans to reduce the number of council offices in the city centre in order to save money and improve customer access to council services.
At a meeting of Leeds City Council executive board on Wednesday 18 July 2012, members will be recommended to look at rolling out new ways of working in the city centre and reducing the number of buildings in the council’s city centre office portfolio. This will include essential investment in Merrion House, one of the council’s key office buildings in an important regeneration area of the city centre.
The proposal will see the bringing together of staff into four key city centre buildings including Civic Hall, Merrion House, Enterprise House and St George’s House to allow the release of seven other buildings.
As part of the move to bring staff into key buildings, there would be a major refurbishment and extension of Merrion House in partnership with the current owners, Town Centre Securities. This refurbishment will provide flexible and fit for purpose city centre office space increasing the occupancy from 1200 employees to over 1900 plus the development of a new customer services facility providing a single point of access to all council services in the city centre.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“As part of this proposal we are looking to significantly decrease the number of buildings that we occupy and save council taxpayers money. This work will allow for more flexible and efficient working, and will also allow us to save a significant amount of money. Over a 25 year period we expect to see savings of over £15million.
“There is a large amount of refurbishment and maintenance work that needs to be undertaken at Merrion House, and under the existing lease arrangement the council is responsible for this. It therefore makes sense in the long term to invest in refurbishing the building to make it more modern and accessible for flexible working, as well as supporting the regeneration of a key part of the city centre, linking closely with the Arena development and the proposals to further improve the Merrion Centre.
“As part of our ambition to become the best city in the UK we need to make sure we offer efficient and easy to access services to the people of Leeds, and the new customer services facility will enable us to do this, working closely with our partners.”
Edward Ziff, Chairman and Chief Executive of Town Centre Securities PLC said:
“TCS is delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds City Council to deliver improved services and cost savings in a new flexible and efficient workplace which forms part of the continuing rejuvenation of the Merrion Centre”.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450