South Kesteven District Council hopes to relocate to a new premises next door – on the top floor of Grantham’s Savoy cinema – in a move which will save taxpayers an estimated £300,000 a year in running costs.
The council is looking to leave St Peter’s Hill in Grantham for a smaller, more cost-efficient, open-plan office space. In addition to saving taxpayers’ money, the move is also expected to improve business efficiency and working conditions.
Additionally, potential partnerships with other public sector organisations are being explored to develop a customer service hub in the vacant ground floor units.
SKDC cabinet members have agreed that the proposal should be presented to the annual meeting of the Full Council in May.
SKDC has moved to a hybrid arrangement, with officers’ time split between home and office working. Councillor Kelham Cooke, Leader of SKDC, said working practices adopted in response to the pandemic had shown that the council operates in a more agile way and no longer requires such large premises.
He said: “This is an exciting time for SKDC, as it brings potential for growth and opportunity and regeneration of an existing site in the town centre.
“SKDC strives to be a local employer of choice and the planned move is a perfect time to revisit and strengthen the council’s culture by building on the spirit of change and possibility that business relocation brings.
“The new office space will cater to every employee’s needs through the creation of an open layout that encourages collaboration, whilst also providing quiet work areas.
“The main office location at St Peter’s Hill no longer meets the business needs of the council. It is an ageing asset that now requires significant investment if it is to provide modern, good quality, adaptable and flexible workspaces.
“The proposed move would reduce our on-going running costs, making more efficient use of taxpayers’ money. Crucially, there will also be a reduction in our carbon footprint – a key priority for us.”
It had been expected the University of Lincoln would lease the cinema complex office space as an education centre but it has confirmed that, while it is committed to supporting the learning agenda in Grantham, it no longer requires the extensive, available office space.
A university spokesperson said: “The university provides a range of programmes to support businesses and local economies, including our innovative executive development programme, which we have delivered in Grantham. The university will continue to work with local authorities such as SKDC to find opportunities to sustain this important work in the future.”
As part of the cinema development project the council received a £2 million grant, approved by the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), with the aim of delivering an education centre.
Discussions are ongoing with the LEP Investment Board on the way forward regarding repayment of the grant and the re-purposing of the building.