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Gloucestershire Business News

Future of iconic Municipal Offices to be discussed

Future options for Cheltenham's Municipal Offices will be discussed, when cabinet members meet next week (July 11), before being presented to the full council on July 24.

The iconic offices have been home to the Cheltenham Borough Council for more than a century.

To meet the needs of a modern local authority, and with the move towards hybrid working arrangements, the offices are no longer appropriate for use by the council. The carbon footprint is considerable, and the building is not accessible for people with mobility requirements.

The recommendations are:

• To sell the Municipal Offices on the open market

• Commission a development brief, which will take a creative and conservation-led approach to any future changes to the building and its use and its wider setting, and that of neighbourhood listed buildings

• On completion of the brief, invite bids for the development proposal

• Cabinet makes proposals to full council for a final decision on its future use and sale.

Cllr Peter Jeffries, cabinet member for finance and assets, said: "For some time, we have had the long-term aspiration to relocate to modern, more flexible office accommodation, which meets both existing and future needs, improves customer experience and provides better value for money for the tax payers of Cheltenham.

"More flexible space will accommodate hybrid working, encourage colleague and partner collaboration and offer an improved, accessible experience for our customers. It will be a cheaper, more environmentally friendly space, which will better serve our town and protect taxpayers' money.

"It's a common trend that councils are now selling their head office space and relocating into areas that better meet their needs and those of the customer. We'd like to reassure residents that we will keep a presence in the town centre.

"Of course, we are aware of how important the Municipal Offices are to the town. It's a beautiful building and our ambition is to preserve it in all its glory. We are absolutely committed to safeguard it and respect the heritage of its setting, while taking every opportunity offered by modern architecture, technology and new building materials. This will allow a development that improves its surroundings and creates space for future use, leaving an appropriate legacy.''

It is expected that any sale will take two to three years before redevelopment would take place. During this time, the council will continue to occupy the space, alongside a number of short-term let tenants.

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