A PROPOSAL for Warwick District Council to reconsider plans to move its headquarters into a new £50million complex in favour of moving into vacant buildings owned by Warwickshire County Council has failed to get off the ground.
The county’s ruling Conservative party voted down a motion tabled at a meeting last week that called on the district council to ‘pause’ its relocation plan so the two could considering the cost-saving sharing of facilities.
One of the two Labour councillors behind the idea was Cllr Matt Western, who was also last month elected as MP for Warwick and Leamington.
Speaking at a meeting of the county council last Tuesday, he said councils had a duty to ensure that we are making the best possible use of public assets.
The county council’s Shire Hall headquarters is in Market Place in Warwick, but it also has various other buildings around the town, some of which are being sold off.
The district council is about to submit a planning application to build a £50million complex that would house its new offices, as well as car park and apartments on the site of Covent Garden car park in Leamington.
That will be funded by the sale of its current Riverside House HQ, also in Leamington, for housing.
Cllr Western said councils were coming under pressure from central government to see how they could work closer together against a backdrop of falling funding, and said the public wanted to know that all possibilities of saving money were being considered, including buildings and services.
But concerns were expressed that doing so would be a backdoor move towards a combined authority, something the Conservatives are against.
County council leader, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said the county council had no influence over where the district council was based, and even accused the Labour proposers of wasting time by putting the issue into what she described as a “busy enough schedule”.