Council office move a step closer after planning approval

Published: Friday, 27 May 2022

Innovative plans that could see Oadby & Wigston Borough Council move its primary offices to Brocks Hill Country Park have been approved by its development control committee.

The council revealed plans last year which would see Bushloe House - the borough council’s current home - sold with the intention of investing the proceeds from the sale into renovating the main building at Brocks Hill Country Park.

Now, with planning permission granted, the scheme will be progressed through the council’s decision-making processes, with councillors scheduled to consider a final report at their next full council meeting on 12 July.

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 investigate a 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 staff at any one time as well as a fully functioning Council Chamber that is flexible in its design so the room can be used for other council-business, community meetings and events.

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, should it go ahead. There are no plans to remove the public café and toilets on site, although they would not be available while any renovation work takes place.

Councillor John Boyce, Leader of OWBC, said: “Receiving planning permission is excellent news and it gives us excellent options on how we maximise the use of Brocks Hill for both our staff and the public. We now need to be certain this scheme offers value for money for our residents and this will be a key factor in the final decision-making process councillors will be involved in.

“Downsizing our office space by adapting a more modern, fit for purpose building that we already own is certainly an innovative and exciting plan. Having the council’s headquarters at Brocks Hill would also enhance our ability to improve our flagship park’s already fantastic offer.

“We’re developing a new Customer Experience Strategy which complements our plans and ensures that the way the council operates into the future meets the demands and needs of all of our customers and residents.

“It’s also an opportunity to vastly reduce the council’s current footprint, which is something we want to lead the way on, inspiring other organisations and businesses in the borough to follow that lead.”

Planning permission was granted at the council’s Planning Committee on Thursday 26 May.