Plans for new council offices moves on a step

plans for a new council office in Richmond moves a step closer this week.

The project which will help protect 130 jobs in the town, and ensure the future of one of its historic buildings will be discussed by councillors.

They will examine plans to bring all their officers on to one site by creating new state of the art office accommodation in the modern buildings that were part of the former Richmond Lower School in Station Road.

The scheme includes turning the Grade II listed old Grammar School which is also on the site into a community house, which will bring the district’s voluntary sector under one roof for the first time.

The centre for social enterprise will provide space for voluntary and community groups.

A council spokesman said it is likely both the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Richmondshire Community Voluntary Service will relocate there.

A third aspect of their plans will see a disabled-friendly large hall available for the local community and businesses in Richmond and Richmondshire for the first time.

The magnificent 16th century banqueting hall in the old Grammar School is to be fully refurbished with the help of a grant from North Yorkshire County Council, its current owners, and then made available for conferences, public meetings, weddings and other similar grand occasions.

“The District Council has been operating out of hugely sub-standard buildings across several sites for many years, making us very inefficient” said Council Leader, Councillor John Blackie.

“This project will address this by bringing everyone under one roof in modern fit-for-purpose accommodation.

“It will also re-locate the Richmond Community Office so the public will have more convenient access to our officers and services the council offers.

“By tying employment to Richmond, we can bolster business for the town centre. And we will facilitate a historic building in continuing to serve the local community”

“It is a wins all round initiative – wins for the public, wins for the District Council’s officers and councillors, wins for Richmond by expanding the facilities the town can offer, wins for closer working with the voluntary organisations.

“Importantly the scheme would be cost neutral for the council with the cost of buying and refurbishing the LowerSchool covered by the sale of its existing buildings - Frenchgate House, Swale House and Friars Wynd,” Coun Blackie said.

Councillors looked at plans and proposals for the school site at a special workshop before the formal discussions at a special council meeting tomorrow, Thursday, September 27