14th Oct, 2019

£3.5m taxpayers' money to be spent on Solihull Council House upgrade

Felix Nobes 10th Jul, 2019 Updated: 10th Jul, 2019

A SOLIHULL Council House upgrade financed by £3.5million of taxpayers’ money is planned to start in October.

Council chiefs say the existing building is in need of maintenance and refurbishment – including to provide better heating and electricity, kitchens, training and meeting rooms.

Plans to upgrade the Council House were agreed in March and precise details of what will be improved are to be put to councillors next week.

A report prepared by head of corporate property services, Linda Wilson, says the plans will address the worst affected parts of the building and staff concerns uncovered in a survey.

It also warns there could be ‘significant disruption’ for staff which could lead to ‘service disruption’ and short-term issues.

The employee survey revealed concerns about heating, rotten windows and poor kitchen facilities.

The, as outlined in the report, include the replacement of boilers, old windows, upgrading lifts, toilets and electricity.

It will also include the creation of a new kitchen and break area on each floor.

Ms Wilson’s report says it is anticipated that works will take about 18 months to deliver with a proposed start date in October.

It states: “The Council House complex has deteriorated as a result of minimal investment in the buildings over recent years.

“There is a current backlog of maintenance including some significant items that are due for renewal.

“The condition of the current working environment within the Council House complex has recently been commented on by officers through a number of channels, including the employee survey.

“Poor meeting room, project spaces and training room facilities have also been highlighted as a pressing concern.

“The creation of suitable space to provide meeting rooms or project areas is also being considered as part of the works.

“The lower ground floor of Church Hill House has been identified and will be re-designated as meeting rooms with staff being moved out of this area as part of this project.”

The plans come after the Touchwood Two proposals – which would have seen the demolition of the council house – were shelved.

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