South of the river? Council headquarters and Spa Centre could move in council shake-up
LEAMINGTON’S Spa Centre theatre and Warwick District Council’s headquarters could be demolished and moved to Old Town as part of plans to save millions of pounds.
The headquarters move - possibly to council-owned land around Althorpe Street - would shift hundreds of jobs south of the river.
A report to be considered by the district council’s executive committee on Wednesday recommends “actively seeking” to secure new headquarters office accomodation, as well as redeveloping the Spa Centre site “at a future date”.
Much of the council’s current headquarters at Riverside House is currently empty, and the authority has earmarked the site for 50 homes in its ‘preferred options’ for future development.
According to estimates, making no changes would cost the council £28.6 million over the next 25 years, but implementing the strategy could cut this by £4 million, rising to £12.5 million if the Spa Centre was sold.
Despite this, officials suggest putting the proceeds of redevelopment towards entertainment at the same site as new council offices.
The Spa Centre’s future had been questioned owing to its substantial subsidy, but new management is credited with bringing new audiences.
Cllr Sue Gallagher, who is responsible for culture and leisure, said there were no plans to move without a new venue. She insisted all theatres ran at a loss - but said the 40-year-old theatre and conference centre had reached the limit of its capacity.
Elsewhere, Leamington town hall was put forward as a ‘one stop shop’ for council services, with a new entrance into the Regent Court shopping centre.
Council meetings could be moved to the new headquarters, leaving upper floors for offices. Uses suggested include the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, which previously decided against a move, and Bath Place Community Venture - which faces being moved out of the Old Library by owners Warwickshire College.
The Pump Room - once mooted as a site for a one stop shop - would instead have a larger cafe and bookshop.
Other recommendations in the review by consultants EC Harris include reviving the ‘cultural quarter’ and selling Packington Place car park and the neighbouring Italian club for affordable housing.
The executive committee will meet at the town hall at 6pm.
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Weather for Leamington
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 23 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North east