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Weekly Edition - Published  29 September 2016

 

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End of an era at Municipal Buildings

THE latest phase of a project to further reduce the number of offices used by Liverpool City Council is set to get underway.  A report to the Cabinet, on Friday, 30 September 2016, is recommending that Municipal Buildings on Dale Street is declared surplus to requirements and marketed for sale, in the face of £90 million of savings required over the next 3 years.

The Grade II listed building has space for 1,000 staff, but only 640 employees are accommodated there due to a significant reduction in the Council's head count in recent years. The proposal is part of an accommodation strategy which aims to deliver significant ongoing savings and generate funding which can be reinvested in reducing the costs of the City's major infrastructure projects programme.  Under the proposal being considered, workers will be moved to other existing sites across the City such as Cunard Building at the Pier Head, Premier Court on Hatton Garden, Venture Place on Sir Thomas Street and Wavertree Customer Focus Centre on Wavertree Road. The One Stop Shop based in Municipal Buildings will be relocated to a self contained unit within the refurbished St John's Market, ensuring that customers can still access Council Services in a central location. Consideration is also being given to putting other public facing Government Services in the facility to generate wider savings. A back up data centre which is based in the building and was due to be upgraded shortly will be moved to Cunard Building.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said:- "Municipal Buildings has been a magnificent home for Liverpool City Council since the 1860s, but it is a very costly building to run and maintain and we no longer have the staff numbers to justify retaining it. We want to find out the level of interest that there is from potential purchasers with a view to finding a long term sustainable use for the site which will also create new jobs. This is a listed building and I want to reassure people that it will be protected and we will ensure that its future use protects its unique architectural features. We have already done this with other heritage buildings in the area such as the Municipal Annexe and Royal Insurance Building which have both been improved and brought back into use as 4 star hotels. The sale of Municipal Buildings will bring in money which we can reinvest in reducing the costs of our capital infrastructure programme, as well as delivering ongoing savings by lowering our overheads."

The report is also asking for approval to renegotiate the lease or purchase the leasehold on Venture Place on Sir Thomas Street ahead of its expiry in March 2017.  If approved, Municipal Buildings will be marketed for sale in the autumn with the outcome brought back to Cabinet in due course for a final decision.

 

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