Issue - meetings

Estates and Accommodation - Poole civic space

Meeting: 27/10/2021 - Cabinet (Item 72)

72 Estates and Accommodation - Retention of Poole civic space pdf icon PDF 565 KB

The delivery of the council’s Estates and Accommodation Strategy will enable the organisation to reduce its exposure to a large and inefficient office accommodation estate, whilst at the same time supporting the development of single council identity where staff work in modern and flexible ways, delivering services that are transformed in order to be as customer focused and financially efficient as possible.

The creation of the BCP Council Civic Centre and relocation of the customer service offer to local libraries represents the first phase in the council’s Estates and Accommodation Strategy and comprises the necessary investment in the Bournemouth campus and larger libraries, plus the associated work required to allow for new uses of the legacy Poole and Christchurch civic offices.

In the November 2020 Estates and Accommodation Cabinet report, it stated that the intention was no longer to dispose of the Poole Civic Centre in its entirety but to maintain ownership of the core building to protect the Mayoral connection and to consider alternate uses. The Poole civic building is a 1930s listed building and has played an important part in Poole’s history. BCP Council are committed to retaining it as a Poole asset.

It is proposed that BCP will retain the freehold of the Poole Civic Centre and a ‘vertical slice’ will be remodelled for retention as a civic building in Poole. Consideration has been given as to the best use of this space alongside the Poole Charter Trustees. The Dorset Coroners service has been looking to relocate from Bournemouth Town Hall, and the gravitas and location of the building is a good fit for their needs. The use of the building by the Coroners service alongside the mayoralty function, located in the heart of Poole, presents a viable future for the retained building. The other sections of the Poole Civic Centre and wider campus will be repurposed in due course.  The Poole Charter Trustees and Coroner have been engaged with regarding the proposed layout of this space.

The project budget requested reflects the need to create a fit for purpose space for the Poole Charter Trustees and Coroners service.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that: -

(a)          the retention of the Poole Civic vertical slice and use to accommodate the requirements of the Poole Charter Trustees and Dorset Coroners Service be approved;

(b)          the proposed budget set out in Appendix 2 be approved for Recommendation to Council.

(c)          the provisional scope and delegates to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader, final decisions in respect of the footprint of the retained section of the building, within the agreed budget allocation be approved;

(d)          Cabinet authorises the commencement of the procurement process and delegates authority to award contracts to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader and appropriate senior officers as appropriate, in accordance with delegated authorities and the council’s financial regulations; and

(e)          consideration be given to how use of the retained section of the building by community groups can best be accommodated outside of Coroner and Mayoralty hours, making appropriate and reasonable adjustments to the current proposal where necessary while accepting this use is secondary to Coroner and Mayoralty use.

RECOMMENDED that: -

(a)          Council approve the budget set out in Appendix 2.

Voting: Unanimous

Portfolio Holder(s): Leader of the Council

 Environment, Waste and Cleansing

Reason

To maintain the civic presence in the historic Poole civic centre. To approve the budget and procurement approach required to successfully establish the ‘vertical slice’ of Poole civic centre for use by the Poole Charter Trustees and Dorset Coroners service.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

Cabinet was advised that the delivery of the council’s Estates and Accommodation Strategy will enable the organisation to reduce its exposure to a large and inefficient office accommodation estate, whilst at the same time supporting the development of single council identity where staff work in modern and flexible ways, delivering services that are transformed in order to be as customer focused and financially efficient as possible.

In relation to this Cabinet was informed that the creation of the BCP Council Civic Centre and relocation of the customer service offer to local libraries represents the first phase in the council’s Estates and Accommodation Strategy and comprises the necessary investment in the Bournemouth campus and larger libraries, plus the associated work required to allow for new uses of the legacy Poole and Christchurch civic offices.

Cabinet was reminded that in the November 2020 Estates and Accommodation Cabinet report, it stated that the intention was no longer to dispose of the Poole Civic Centre in its entirety but to maintain ownership of the core building to protect the Mayoral connection and to consider alternate uses. The Poole civic building is a 1930s listed building and has played an important part in Poole’s history. BCP Council are committed to retaining it as a Poole asset.

Further to this Cabinet was informed that it is proposed that BCP will retain the freehold of the Poole Civic Centre and a ‘vertical slice’ will be remodelled for retention as a civic building in Poole, and that consideration has been given as to the best use of this space alongside the Poole Charter Trustees. Cabinet was further informed that the Dorset Coroners service has been looking to relocate from Bournemouth Town Hall, and the gravitas and location of the building is a good fit for their needs. The use of the building by the Coroners service alongside the mayoralty function, located in the heart of Poole, presents a viable future for the retained building.

In addition, Cabinet was advised that the other sections of the Poole Civic Centre and wider campus will be repurposed in due course, and that the Poole Charter Trustees and Coroner have been engaged with regarding the proposed layout of this space.

Cabinet was further informed that the project budget requested reflects the need to create a fit for purpose space for the Poole Charter Trustees and Coroners service.

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board addressed the Cabinet advising that at their recent meeting the Board had comprehensively discussed the report and proposed the following recommendation in respect of this item:

The Overview and Scrutiny Board recommends that Cabinet considers how use of the retained section of the building by community groups can best be accommodated outside of Coroner and Mayoralty hours, making appropriate and reasonable adjustments to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72


Meeting: 18/10/2021 - Overview and Scrutiny Board (Item 96)

96 Scrutiny of Transformation Related Cabinet Reports pdf icon PDF 565 KB

To consider the following Transformation related reports scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 27 October:

 

·       Estates and Accommodation – Poole Civic Space

·       Organisational Design – Implementation Progress

·       Smart Place Programme – ‘Futures Fund' funding of Gigabit Fibre and Smart Place Resources

 

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the reports and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

 

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Drew Mellor, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation

 

The Cabinet report for this item is included with the agenda for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Estates and Accommodation – Poole Civic Space

 

The Leader of the Council with Portfolio for Finance and Transformation presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each member of the Board and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these minutes in the Minute Book. The Leader and officers addressed a number of points raised by the Board including:

 

·        Potential for conflict between the coroner and mayoralty in using the building would be managed through a booking system. This had been a key consideration when looking at which functions would complement each other best and had been discussed with both parties.

·       It was hoped that next year’s Mayor Making could take place before the commencement of works. The Mayoralty might need to be relocated to an interim location while the building was remodelled. The Mayor would continue to be consulted.

·       Whether the 17.5% contingency figure within the capital budget requirement could be reduced by accelerating plans for the rest of the site. It was explained that the costs reflected the nature of the work required to separate the vertical slice and enable it to operate independently. The Urban Regeneration Company (URC) was now looking at options for the wider site.

·       The figures shown in Appendix 2 were queried as incomplete. It was confirmed that the capital budget requirement total was £1.074 million and that the appendix would be adjusted.

·        A Board member asked why opportunities for the community use of the building had not been considered, as requested by the Members Working Group. It was confirmed that although the coroner and mayoralty were the key tenants, nothing had been ruled out for the building or the wider site.

·       A Board member queried the use of the term ‘disposal’ and asked about plans for the rest of the site, including the reference to a hotel and housing in the URC work programme.  It was explained that the area outside the red line was located for alternative use and was now part of an active workstream for the Future Places team. The Leader confirmed that the asset was not being sold or disposed of and the best possible community use would be made.

·       A councillor commented on the energy shortcomings of the current building and asked why a more campus based, energy efficient system wasn’t being put forward. It was explained that in the short term the most viable option was to operate with electric heating. Longer term there may be more opportunity for solar energy.  The solar panels on the multi storey car park would be retained, or if necessary relocated.

·       It was premature to make any decision on introducing car parking charges before the completion of work on BCP Civic Centre and before staff working patterns in the ‘new normal’ had been established.

During the discussion there were references to different types of community use, including the facility for community groups to book rooms for meetings and events, the community function of coroner and mayoralty  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96