Council offices switch 'on time and on budget'

Wed 10 April 2013, 6:00 pm

Reading Borough Council's plans to vacate its current Civic Centre and move to new offices at Plaza West are on schedule and within budget, according to a report to cabinet members.

Papers published ahead of Monday’s meeting said the project was on track to be completed in “the final quarter” of 2014 and that the cost of refurbishment and renovation of the new building was within the original budget allocation.

The documents say the total capital costs of moving to Plaza West are £25.48 million, compared with £51.47 million for refurbishing the council’s existing headquarters.

They also show significantly reduced annual costs of £3.18 million for Plaza West, contrasting with £5.65 million for the current centre, which is scheduled for demolition and redevelopment as part of plans for the regeneration of Hosier Street and the Civic Area.
Reading expects to gain vacant possession of Plaza West later this month and has already shortlisted  contractors to carry out refurbishment work.

Council Leader Jo Lovelock said that although Plaza West was a relatively new building, work was required to ensure that it had good public access, suitable meeting rooms and an acceptable working environment for staff.

“The cost of this work was included in the original financial case on which the council made its decision and has not increased,” she said.

Last week, Reading launched its bid to find a development partner for the Hosier Street and the Civic Area.

It said it was specifically seeking a mix of residential, commercial, retail, leisure and community facilities for the town-centre site.

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