Published: Thursday, 24 March 2022
Oadby & Wigston Borough Council (OWBC) has submitted a planning application for its innovative plans to move its primary offices to Brocks Hill Country Park.
The council announced in November that Bushloe House, the borough council’s current home, is to be sold with the intention of investing the proceeds from the sale into renovating the main building at Brocks Hill Country Park.
Local people can now have their say on the planning application on the council’s planning portal – with the planning committee currently expected to make a decision in line with planning law and regulations at the next meeting on 28 April 2022.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a re-assessment of the council’s office accommodation and its new agile working policies mean far less space is needed for its day-to-day operations.
It is expected that a move from the dated, expensive to heat, costly to maintain Bushloe House to the far more modern, eco-friendly Brocks Hill will allow savings to be made every year long into the future. The cost-saving element is a major factor in the decision to move, as funding reductions continue to put pressure on council services across the country.
Brocks Hill would be fit for purpose for up to 30 years and its use as its main offices would also significantly reduce the council’s carbon footprint. The agile working space would have room for up to a maximum of around 30 to 40 staff at any one time.
The Brocks Hill site is already owned by the borough council and the country park would continue to be available to the public as usual during and after the renovation. There are no plans to remove the public café and toilets on site, although they would not be available while the renovation work takes place.
Councillor John Boyce, Leader of OWBC, said: “As a council we need to cut our cloth and find ways to raise and save money – the amount of funding we receive from Government has fallen to zero.
“The pandemic has shown that our staff can deliver high quality services while working in an agile way, allowing us to re-assess our accommodation needs and look at the savings we can make.
“Downsizing our office space by adapting a more modern, fit for purpose building that we already own is an innovative and exciting plan. In the long term it will save large amounts of money year on year that can be better spent on our council services along with the added bonus of reducing our carbon footprint.
“Having the council offices located at Brocks Hill will not have any impact on the country park itself and it will still be available for residents and visitors to enjoy as it is now – in fact having the council headquarters based in the Borough’s flagship park will actually enhance our ability to improve on the already fantastic offer.”
If approved by the planning committee, renovation work is expected to start in early summer and be completed before the end of the year.