Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Council costs

The city council could close more than 20 of its office buildings in a long-term plan to save £40 million. The shake-up could mean a new lease of life for a former bonded warehouse next to the River Avon, which could revitalise a neglected corner of Bristol near the Cumberland Basin. (see here). Councillors should be asking a large number of questions about the rather bold statement of claimed benefits of this proposal and they should especially scrutinise these kind of figures/estimates:

 "The cost of the offices shake-up would be an estimated £70 million, with money borrowed at preferential rates over many years. But the council's treasury officials believe that within 15 years they will have recouped all the costs. And within 25 years the scheme would deliver an overall saving of nearly £40 million."

Could you not radically change the way the council works and use far fewer buildings in many different ways? Have other options been fully explored? Is this the best option? My concern is the £70 million cost and whether this would stay at £70 million and whether it would be paid back as officials estimate.

Surely not a decision for the council but for the Mayor elected in November in any case.

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