Councillors in Mid Suffolk approve headquarters move

Mark Westley Photography
Mid Suffolk District Council building in Needham Market. ANL-140710-214527009

Mark Westley Photography Mid Suffolk District Council building in Needham Market. ANL-140710-214527009

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Councillors in Mid Suffolk have backed plans to move their headquarters to Ipswich in a bid to cut costs and improve services.

It is part of a joint relocation to Endeavour House, in Ipswich, with Babergh District Council, which approved the move earlier this week.

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Nick Gowrley ANL-160518-120224001

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Nick Gowrley ANL-160518-120224001

Mid Suffolk District Council’s current offices in Needham Market combined with Babergh’s offices in Hadleigh cost £1,083,885 to run annually.

The move is a key feature of the Public Access Strategy, which Mid Suffolk councillors backed by a majority last night.

Nick Gowrley, leader of Mid Suffolk, said: “There is no doubt that the world of government and the public service sector is being transformed by technology, new ways of working and a challenging financial environment.

“Councillors have agreed that the status quo is not an option. Their bold decision is the next step to ensuring services are better for residents, simpler for staff and more cost effective for tax payers.”

As well as sharing accommodation at Endeavour House, the authorities considered three other options including locating all services to Hadleigh, all services to Needham Market and a new building for the councils.

The annual running and lease costs of moving to Endeavour House would be £633,000. It would also cost £50,000 to fit out the space in Ipswich. To maintain face to face contact with residents the councils would run an office in each district with annual running costs of £175,284 and a £201,502 capital cost.

Cllr Gowrley added: “Work has been underway since 2013 on the integration programme for both sovereign councils.

“The decision made shows that our members see a move to Endeavour House as one that puts cost, modernisation, simplicity, reliability and convenience at the heart of the future delivery of Mid Suffolk District Council services. The current ways the public access the council’s services are antiquated, confusing, difficult and bureaucratic. Tonight’s vote is local councillors saying they want this to be a thing of the past.”

The Public Access Strategy also sets out improvements for five key access channels for the community including face to face, telephone, online services plus Webchat and SMS text messaging.