Work begins on controversial £9m Harrogate Borough Council headquarters move

New council offices at Knapping Mount
New council offices at Knapping Mount

The first step has been taken on the creation of new controversial £9million headquarters for Harrogate Borough Council.

Preliminary work on the site began today (Monday, October 19) with the new building expected to be completed in Spring 2017.

Yorkshire based Harry Fairclough Construction will now prepare the site for demolition work as well as erecting safety fencing and two site offices.

Demolition of the current buildings will take place between November and December with construction of the new headquarters expected to be completed in Spring 2017.

The early work is expected to last for six weeks and Coun Graham Swift, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Economic Development and Enterprise, described the move as a 'momentous occasion'.

He said: "The move will allow us to improve on the service we offer our customers and provide long term savings for the council tax payer.

“We are keen for residents to be kept informed about progress and as such a blog has been created by the lead contractor Harry Fairclough Construction which will be frequently updated with information and will provide the opportunity for people to ask questions about the project.

“This project has been many years in the making, and I am delighted that we will shortly begin creating offices which will have far reaching benefits for the whole of the district.”

The controversial plans were approved in July against a backdrop of protests with around 50 angry campaigners gathered outside the council's offices.

In total 29 councillors voted for the move, including three independent councillors, with all 15 Lib Dems opposing the move along with Coun Shirley Fawcett (Con, Spofforth with Lower Wharfedale).

Crescent Gardens will now be sold to the authorities preferred bidder for an undisclosed sum, though it is thought to have fetched more than the £2million to £5million estimate estate agents valued the building at earlier this year.