Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The lack of an accommodation strategy

This morning, I attended a meeting of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet and spoke on an item entitled “Office Accommodation Vision.” I was not impressed with the report and said so!

In short, the report stated that an accommodation strategy would be “built around a hub and spoke model with three main hubs created in Bodmin, Camborne and Truro with satellite offices across the remainder of the county.” It added that the 78 existing offices would be reduced to thirty, though there was no detail.

The main focus of the report was to agree refurbishments and improvements at New County Hall in Truro and Dolcoath Road, Camborne, and to agree the development of a business case for a new office set-up in Bodmin.

I asked a number of questions. What was the overall vision? What offices would be closed and which ones would be kept in use? Which services would be based in which offices?

As an example, I asked about planning. There are three planning areas but it is still being run from six former district council offices. My questions were whether this would continue or whether planners would in the future be primarily based at three offices. And if this was the case, which offices they would be.

I specifically asked about the St Austell offices, identified as important in the St Austell Strategic Investment Framework, and their future. Those of us who used to be Restormel councillors understood would it be a hub for the central area, with Truro as the main centre.

All the people who were present at the meeting will confirm that I got no meaningful responses to my questions.

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