June 17, 2022 4.06 pm

South Kesteven council HQ up for sale, but some fear ‘white elephant’

Council hopes to save £300k a year with the move

By Local Democracy Reporter

South Kesteven District Council’s headquarters have gone on the market as they downsize into a cinema complex.

The St Peter’s Hill offices in Grantham were deemed to be too large and expensive to maintain.

The council leader says the sale presents an exciting opportunity for new development, but an opposition councillor fears it become a “white elephant” standing empty.

The council will be moving into the top floor of the nearby Savoy Cinema, in a move that is estimated to save taxpayers £300,000 a year.

Banks Long & Co are offering the current three-storey building and a cleared development site to the rear of the cinema for sale, with price available on application.

Councillor Kelham Cooke, leader of South Kesteven District Council, said, “The move from the council’s current St Peter’s Hill offices will allow the council to rationalise its space requirements by using modern space that is suited to the requirements of a modern local authority.

“This in turn has allowed the council to bring to the market an opportunity for the private sector to create an exciting new development of the vacant space and land.”

The council will be moving into the top floor of the Savoy cinema

However, Independent Councillor Ashley Baxter said he had doubts about a quick sale.

“No one disagrees that the building is old and decrepit, and the new one would be more appropriate and a better size,” he said.

“The council leader has dropped hints that a buyer is lined up. I certainty hope that’s true and it doesn’t stand abandoned, gathering dust for years and years, and costing the council money on maintenance.

“Personally I can’t fathom who would be interested in this white elephant in the middle of town.”

Commercial Property Agency Director James Butcher said: “Banks Long & Co are delighted to be assisting the council in their plans for St Peter’s Hill through the marketing of the space that is being vacated and hope to be able to bring forward some exciting new plans for this area in due course.”

The listing describes it as “a rare opportunity to secure substantial redevelopment sites within Grantham town centre” and offers the potential for “a wide variety of different commercial and residential uses.”

The council voted last month to approve the £500,000 move, which would create flexible office space and a public sector hub.

Councillors agreed that the current building was in need of work and was too big for the council’s current needs.